For those who were wondering if the HTC One smartphone would be available in a stock Android version, an executive for the Taiwanese manufacturer has given a definitive answer: No.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 was in the limelight at the keynote of Google’s I/O conference on Wednesday when Hugo Barra, vice president of Android product management at Google, announced a "Google Edition" of the recently release smartphone that will ship with a pure version of Android 4.2.2 and no Samsung TouchWiz UI or other bloatware.
This quickly sparked speculation on whether Samsung competitor HTC would release a stock Android version of its new flagship smartphone, the HTC One. In common HTC fashion, employee Leigh Momii took to Twitter, alluding to the rumor of a stock Android version of the HTC One in the works.
So you can pay $649 for a piece of plastic running stock or... You can wait :) #IO13
— Leigh (@jetleigh) May 15, 2013
The action was reminiscent of HTC’s presence at the Samsung Galaxy S4 unveiling at Radio City Music Hall in March. HTC representatives were on the sidelines giving away HTC One paraphernalia as guests and press waited on line to see Samsung’s “next big thing” unveiled. The rival manufacturer also tweeted during Samsung’s Broadway-style unveiling, calling the Galaxy S4 “the next big flop.”
This time, HTC’s Senior Global Online Communications Manager Jeff Gordon was on hand to quell any rumors about a "Google Edition" or "Nexus Edition" HTC One. “HTC is not currently planning a ‘Nexus Edition’ of the HTC One,” Gordon told tech website Slash Gear.
Many have taken to referring to the new Samsung Galaxy S4 variant as the "Google Edition" since it runs pure Google software; many are also calling it the “Nexus Edition” because it will give the same user experience as Nexus brand smartphones and tablets. It will essentially be the first non-Nexus device to work like a Nexus.
The device also can be considered a developer’s edition as it will ship bootloader unlocked, which will let developers easily root and modify its systems. In addition, this version of the Galaxy S4 will receive its updates directly from Google as opposed to through mobile carriers, meaning updates will be more frequent and comprehensive.
The HTC One comes in a developer’s edition that ships bootloader unlocked, but it still boots HTC’s Sense 5 UI over Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The HTC One unlocked is available through the company’s website for $574.99, while the Samsung Galaxy S4 "Google/Nexus Edition" will be available starting June 26 at the Google Play Store for $649.99.
Fionna Agomuoh is a Technology Reporter for the International Business Times, a vegan foodie, and a lover of Electric Dance Music.