I have asked Google for clarification as to how this will work on the Nexus version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 hardware. As of this writing, I have not received anything more than "Nobody seems sure; we're looking into who might know the answer."
There are three main alternatives for how this hardware-software conflict could be resolved:
Samsung could re-spin the hardware, simply removing its buttons and allowing the Nexus software to work on the screen, just like any other Nexus.
Samsung could keep the hardware but "double up" with the three Nexus buttons on the screen. Would look a bit inelegant and goofy, but it would work.
Samsung could alter the Nexus software so as to fit with its existing three buttons. This would "work" but would it really be a 100% Nexus at that point?
I wouldn't be totally surprised if I find out the answer to this pressing question even before this article has been published. Somebody from Google will probably clarify this soon enough.
The other question that arises here is: How does this Nexus compare to the current Nexus -- the
LG Nexus 4?
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus is $649, versus the $349 for the 16-gig version of the LG Nexus 4. How is the $300 -- nearly 100% premium -- price difference justified? The Samsung Nexus has, compared to the LG Nexus:
Expandable storage (MicroSD card)
Removable backside (removable battery)
Bigger battery (2600 vs 2100 mAh)
Functioning LTE, although that could change -- in part -- on the LG, with a potential future software upgrade that is far from a given, and if so, only on T-Mobile, not AT&T.
Bigger and better display: 5 inches, 1080p vs. 4.7 inches, 720p
(QCOM) 600 vs. previous-gen Qualcomm processor
Better camera: 13 megapixel vs. 8