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Which Nexus Phone Is Better? HTC or Samsung?

Stocks in this article: GOOG

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- For the last couple of years, hardly a day has gone by without several people asking me which Android phone to buy.

The frequency of this question has only increased as Android has gotten better and the alternative operating systems have faltered.

My answer has always been the same: Buy the Android that Google's own employees use. That would be the Nexus.

Well, not always, actually. Here is the background: Until the Samsung Galaxy Nexus became available in November 2011, there wasn't really a good Android on the market, period -- Nexus or otherwise. And it wasn't until mid-2012 that the Android software became really, really good -- with the launch of 4.1, so-called Jelly Bean, which initially was available only for the Nexus.

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus was replaced in November 2012 by the LG Nexus 4. Lacking LTE and having a sensitive glass back that tended to crack, the Nexus 4 had serious hardware issues. But it was the only new Android hardware with the flagship Nexus software.

With the price of the 16-gig version of the Nexus 4 being only $349 SIM-unlocked and contract-free -- compared with $649 for the iPhone 5 -- it was relatively easy to overlook its flaws. It was the Android phone Google's own employees used, and you couldn't rationally recommend another one.

If history is any precedent, we will have to wait until November 2013 for the Nexus 5. Nobody knows anything specific about the Nexus 5, including who will make it. Perhaps it will be Samsung, perhaps HTC, perhaps ASUS -- who knows? One can safely assume it will have LTE, 1080p display and be close to 5 inches in display size, but that's about it. It would obviously be the launch device for Android 5.0, also known as Key Lime Pie.

Unlike previous years, however, 2013 is about to present itself with additional opportunities to get the Nexus experience, well ahead of the usual November switchover to a new Nexus hero device.

Specifically, HTC and Samsung agreed to make "Nexus experience" versions of their flagship smartphones available June 26.

Like the LG Nexus 4, these new "Nexus experience" devices will work on T-Mobile U.S. (TMUS), AT&T (T) and all international GSM-centric operators. Just insert any SIM card of choice, including the $30 per month data service that you can find at Wal-Mart (WMT) and which runs on T-Mobile.

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