Pure Android Galaxy S5 might cause some to give Samsung's flagship another look

The Galaxy S5 Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KRX:005930) (KRX:005935) flagship device enjoyed a nice spec bump recently, with the launch of the Galaxy S5 LTE-A.  Sporting a Snapdragon 805 processor (with 3GB RAM) from Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), 3 GB of DRAM, and a fancy new 2560x1440 pixel QHD (Quad HD) display, the refreshed GS5 variant had the firepower to keep up with the Jones and by Jones, we mean the LG Electronics Inc.'s (KRX:066570)(KRX:066575) flagship device, the LG G3.
While the LG G series has been no slouch in the camera department, it's clear that Samsung's new camera was a far bigger evolution (over the Galaxy S4's weak offering) than LG's G3 camera is over its predecessor.
However, one major knock the Galaxy S5 LTE-A -- and the LG G3, for that matter -- is that neither device features a Google Play Edition (GPE).  GPE releases come with the stock version of Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android, without the OEM-specific set of apps and UI elements.
Samsung's TouchWiz isn't the worst UI out there, but it has plenty of critics, as well.  For example one of our readers posted during the rumors leading up the launch of the Galaxy S5 LTE-A:

If they made a Google Play edition of the [GS5 LTE-A], I'd pick one up.

Well according to @evleaks, the same leaker that outed images of the Galaxy S5 LTE-A a week ahead of its launch, a Google Play Edition of the device is indeed coming.  He posted the following image of the device to his site:
GS5 play

One oddity is that the Galaxy S5 pictured has both hardware and software buttons (redundant).  It's unclear if this is because the image was an official mockup or if it was some sort of firmware bug, but either way it could mean something.

There's also anecdotal evidence (as noted by Phandroid), as the same image popped up on the actual Google Play Store, under the image for Samsung's only current Play Edition offering -- the Google Nexus S4 Play Edition.  

Google Play Edition page

Currently the devices offered with Google Play Editions including the Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) Xperia Z Ultra, which recently saw a price cut to $449 USD; the non-Sense version of the HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) One M8 ($699 USD); and the Moto G ($179/199 USD for 8/16 GB versions) -- the cheapest Play Edition device.  The Samsung Galaxy S4, last year's HTC One, and the LG G Pad 8.3 are also listed in the Play Edition section, but are all out of stock and not available to order at present.  In the Galaxy S4 case, it may be yet another sign of a Galaxy S5 Play Edition release.

Assuming the Galaxy S5 is released with a Play Edition, the big question is whether its hardware will be the origin GS5 spec, or the more attractive GS5 LTE-A.  One thing's for sure; in the U.S. carriers and OEMs are slow to deliver Android updates, so many would welcome a GS5 LTE-A Play Edition particularly with Android 'L' coming up.

Sources: Google Play Store, via, via Phandroid

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