HTC One NUXEverything you need to know about the HTC One with Nexus User Experience

Google and HTC today announced the "Google Edition" HTC One, which basically is an HTC One running stock (more or less) Android 4.2.2. That, of course, resonated deeply among those who prefer the "stock" Android experience. But the HTC One -- like the Samsung Galaxy S4, which also will be released as a "Google Experience" device this summer -- wasn't designed to be a vanilla Android device. So there will be trade-offs, make no mistake.

There's been significantly more said about the HTC One GE (as we've taken to calling it around here) in regards to how things will work, and what's been stripped out.

Here's what we know so far:

How much will the HTC One Google Edition cost? When and where can I get it?

Remember that this is an unsubsidized phone. So it'll cost you $599 outright. It'll be available from Google Play starting June 26.

For now, it's a U.S.-only deal. No word yet on if or when it'll expand to other countries.

What makes this one different than what I'd get at AT&T or T-Mobile or Sprint?

The big deal is the software. This is running "stock" Android 4.2.2. That's a newer version than the Android 4.1.2 currently on the carrier-branded versions of the HTC One. It also means that you won't have the Sense user interface and customizations.

What about software updates?

HTC says they'll be provided by Google, which means you'll probably get new Android versions far in advance of the HTC Sense version.

How much storage space is there?

The Google Edition HTC One is a 32GB model -- more than the Google Edition Galaxy S4, which ships with 16GB. Unlike the GS4, there's no microSD slot.

What carriers can I use this on?

This one's an unlocked GSM device, and it'll run on T-Mobile and AT&T, as well as any GSM network overseas.

Specifically, the radio bands are:

  • HSPA/WCDMA: 850/1900/2100 MHz
  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • LTE: 700/850/AWS/1900 MHz (US)

As it lacks HSPA support on AWS, you'll be missing out on a fair bit of 4G (HSPA) coverage if you use the HTC One 'Google Edition' on T-Mobile.

For those of you holding out hope for an HTC One (or equivalent) device on Verizon, you'll just have to keep waiting.

Why is 'stock Android' a big deal? 

For many, it's the principle of the matter. Lean software is better software. And there's something to that. For others, the Sense experience is just unnecessary. Different strokes and all that.

stock HTC One

What you'll lose: BlinkFeed, camera features, IR blaster

And here's the rub. We're not 100 percent in love with Sense (the clunky app drawer for one, the camera app UI for another, and a handful of other things to finish off. But there are more than a few features baked into Sense 5 specifically with the HTC One in mind that you won't get in a Google Experience device.

For starters, there's the BlinkFeed homescreen. If you don't use it, you won't be missing anything, and there are third-party apps that'll get you close to the same experience (or better) anyway.

The bigger implication comes with the camera. Remember that the HTC One technically only shoots at 4 megapixels, though those pixels do let in more light. But you'll be losing the major software features that make up HTC One experience. That means no Zoes. No Video Highlights. No animated gallery. 

In addition, the power button-mounted IR blaster will be disabled.

What about Beats Audio?

The Google HTC One will feature the hardware parts of HTC's Beats Audio enhancements, but there'll be no software indicator for Beats in the status bar as there is on the HTC Sense version.

So will it take better pictures? Worse?

Frankly, we just don't know yet. Yes, we'll buy one and check.

Will I lose all those awesome apps the carriers add in but I never use and don't want?

Yep. It'll take a little while, but try to get over it.

But, seriously - any other things I'll miss out on?

We've still got a few questions we want answered. For instance, FM radio: We're not sure if that'll still be available.

What about the buttons? The HTC One has a weird setup

Yep. And that doesn't change. It still only has a back button and a home button, and they will function (out of the box, anyway) exactly as they do now. That means you'll have to deal with an unsightly black bar in apps that still use the menu button.

Will you be picking up a Google Edition HTC One? Join the conversation in our Google Edition HTC One forum!


Reader comments

FAQ: The 'Google Edition' HTC One


Google Wallet doesn't work on other phones/carriers, because the carriers have disabled it. It seems like a safe bet that Wallet would work on the HTC One GE.

This is what I am waiting to confirm, I will buy the GE Edition of the HTC one if I can use a T-Mobile Sim and still be able to use Google Wallet. I really hope this is the case, also if they sell out of the GE HTC one, I would hope you can turn a carrier version into a GE version of the phone.

Should. Normally it is shut off by the carrier because they are trying to create their own crappy wallet. Since you are buying this directly from google and supplying your own SIM, there is no carrier interference.

Still does not work on my HTC One X international edition with an AT&T sim in it.
You can install it, but it still won't run.

Google has allowed the carriers to cow them into shutting it on any network where the carrier objects. I don't understand why they knuckle under. Its just data, encrypted data at that, so why do the carriers get a vote?

Would love a GE One but can't imagine giving up the camera features (zoe, highlights).

I agree the user interface on the camera is not good, so wouldn't miss that.

Will be interesting to see what if any impact on the acutal camera images is.

Also, will the camera still be fast and lag free, will you still have a burst mode?

I`ll be out off my mind to give $600. just like that for a phone. And, after six month it`ll worth half what I paid for it. I`ll keep my HTC ONE on Sprint, it cost me $100. In six month down the road, still I can get my money back.

They can't lower the price because of the F$cking carriers over priced products to rip off their customers. They have to charge a 50% mark up when in really shouldn't be more than 30%.

It's a complete ripoff to pay $600 when it is not coming with "Finely Tooled" skins like Sense or Touchwiz, and all the software in them.

It's a great step to make stock android edition, but the pricing is a joke and will keep people from purchasing them. OEM's need to take back control from the carriers over their own products.

Think way back to the Nexus One. When it was first released online, it was $530, straight from Google. When the Galaxy Nexus was released online, it was over $500, as well. It wasn't until some time later it was sold for only $350.

Sounds interesting to me...I have been waiting for something like this - since the original 'htc nexus one'. However, I got a regular htc one for my dad and the beat audio sounds AMAZING! I am curious to hear the difference between stock htc one and sense htc one. And quite frankly... I like the zoe feature... Also I would like to see if the camera quality drops as well. If they are both not too different, maybe this will be my dream phone!

no. i don't have have the Beats headphone. htc one speaker sounds amazing out of box. I *believe* it's htc's software mod combines with htc's front facing speakers that make phone sounds so good. there is a red circle b icon on notification bar indicating the beat is working. Not sure what would happen if the beat software is turned off... but i gotta tell ya... this thing is freaking AMAZING

the camera is going to be a HUGE sticking point for people IMO when this comes out. Its the software enhancements in sense (and in touchwiz on the s4) that make the pics look so good. I have ran AOSP builds on every phone i have ever had and that is the ONE thing that always makes me go back to either sense or touchwiz is the camera.

NOW, with all that said, I would be willing to put some serious cash that one of the main features of android 4.3 will be some pretty significant camera improvements (if not in 4.3 in a few weeks, it will for SURE be in KLP when that is released).

yah man I took some pictures yesterday which didn't come out as well as I hoped. I used one of the auto adjust functions and it makes the picture seem less washed out. For some reason alot of htc one photos seem kind of not very vibrant

Why anyone would want a neutered One is beyond me. The phone is optimized for Sense 5 so to strip that away seems really pointless. I get the GE device thing but for devices like the One and the S4 aren't you losing more than you're gaining?

As the author pointed out, "lean software is better software," and that's just a personal preference to some. Keep in mind, a stock Android 4.2.2 ROM is about 90 megabytes. Some HTC Sense and Samsung TouchWiz ROMs can balloon to 800MB, with some going well beyond 1GB! That's a heck of a lot of extra (and unnecessary) code in many people's eyes, that does nothing more than slow down your device.

When all you want is pure speed and a pure Google experience... a stock "Google Edition" or Nexus type device is the only way to go.

Well Said.

Plus if HTC's goofie idea of multi-tasking is carried to the new One, that too is something that can be left behind.

Smaller OS, no screwed up multi-tasking, on this phone might make it an absolute Killer Device.

On the S4 you'd be losing the lag and gaining a lot of device storage space (SD cards don't cut it).
On the HTC one, it depends. If the speakers still sound as good, what are you losing exactly? Admittedly, I'd love to have the IR controller, but I've lived without one up until now, I'll manage somehow.
Most of the "features" in the Touchwiz and Sense UI's are closer to gimmicks in quality than real features.

Nope, gaining way more than you're losing, in this humble person's opinion. The launcher, lock screen, menus, app drawer, notification window, and other changes HTC made are not welcome changes for all users, including myself. I would much rather have a Nexus-esque experience.

I am probably going to eBay my One AT&T for this One. Probably lose a few bucks in the process but not much.

Or you can just wait for the devs to figure out how to get the ROM from the nexus experience edition to yours and not lose any money (unless you break it while flashing). =)

No need to sell your HTC One, about 2 hrs after the GE HTC1 is released the Rom will be on XDA. If you are new to rooting it might take you an hour or so to get your legs under you, but it will run like it came with Vanilla Android preinstalled(since the hardware is the same).

This is one question that is finally answered! I knew it was possible, but I wasn't sure if HTC will release the "Nexus" Rom for the current HTC One owners to flash and become the GE HTC1.

Updates, as I understand it will be taking care of by Google, but not at the same time as the Nexus devices. No word on that from Goog or HTC, if Goog will update these GE devices much faster than HTC and Samnsung it will be harmful for those companies.

You're pretty far off base on this:
"if Goog will update these GE devices much faster than HTC and Samnsung it will be harmful for those companies."
This is completely false. How is this harmful to HTC or Samsung? Because there are folks out there not using Sense or Touchwiz? They don't care. Not really. All they care about is selling handsets, and they're selling the GE at the same price as the standard edition. They make the same amountof money. Except there are fewer Sense and TouchWiz users to provide support to. That's a WIN for Samsung and HTC. Same profits for less investment.

Zoe camera and beats are all things developers will get running on it. That is the beautiful thing about pure android, it can be changed.

I doubt that. Coding Zoes and some of the HTC software would destroy someone's brain! Lol. Seriously, they would have to hack the hell out the AOSP code to even get it to work and personally, I wouldn't think it would be worth it.

The ideal approach would be for HTC to release the software as downloadable apps (Zoe, Beats, and even the IR blaster). Should be possible, though it'd require them to rethink how they do business.

Beats™ by Dre™ available at Best Buy™ comes on this phone already even though it's being billed as a "nexus" device. Contractual Obligations > Pure Android

I'm pretty sure beats is not "by dre" anymore since htc owns the majority stake in beats audio. Hence the new name, beats audio.

BLAH....i would recommend just getting it directly from the carrier...(its a little cheaper) pay in full they will unlock. if you want stock just put it on.

I DO NOT recommend getting from the carrier. I tried to get unlock code for my t-mobile galaxy s3, and they denied my request by saying I don't own my phone over 18 month...

If you wanna pay in full just get it directly from HTC. It comes unlocked, and no bloatware to deal with.

T-mobile will SIM-unlock a phone after 90 days, at least did that for 2-3 of us in 2012.

Bootloader unlock is something HTC provides direct.

"Will I lose all those awesome apps the carriers add in but I never use and don't want?

Yep. It'll take a little while, but try to get over it."


It's a wonder why more people haven't filed class-action lawsuits against carriers for not allowing you to remove their unwanted (storage-hogging) apps.

Finally a cell phone that is stripped of all the bloat.... Mark my words - others will follow down this path.

I think this (and the GE Samsung Galaxy S4) are the second phase of Google's strategy with selling the Nexus unlocked and on the Play store direct. Now that a market for un-bloated, unlocked phones is proven, more manufacturers are jumping on the wagon.

Regardless of what you think of these phones, in general this is a Good Thing(TM).

For me, this isn't such a great deal. I'd want the option of installing HTC's or Samsung's special sauce apps (like the camera apps, Beats audio stuff, maybe even the launchers) for myself. Leaving that all out, I'd expect the phone to be cheaper. After all, you're paying for hardware + software usually, here they're charging a premium for hardware-only kit. Kinda overpriced IMHO, but hell if they make some money off it and it encourages them in this sales channel in the future, it's a win for Android consumers.

I love the precedent that this sets. I hope that flagship phones released from now on will have a google variant by default.

Could Google be doing some political dancing? Both the S4 and One Google Editions will be less than ideal due to 'missing' functions. Will the Moto X be missing the same significant functions, or will it effectively be a Nexus without this officially being the case and Google showing favoritism.

I really like that this is being done. The only function it seems missing would be the IR blaster which seems silly to not make it work but can't imagine a deal breaker for most people. From everything else it seems it will do everything a Nexus 4 will do. I happen to really like stock Android but there are some things I really like about Sense 5 and the One.

I'm curious which device will sell better between the S4 and One. I still don't know which one I'd prefer, my guess is with the Nexus software Samsung's camera will perform better, faster processor 1.9 vs 1.7, plus you get the SD card and bigger (removeable) battery but less storage built in. You also have arguably a better button layout for stock software on the S4. I have not had an issue with my 16GB Nexus 4 but if it had SD storage I would use it for onboard music for sure. The One is just a really nice looking phone though with more onboard storage, better speakers and likely a better screen to most people. I'd take either if I didn't already have a Nexus 4 to be honest.

So what exactly will you lose going T-Mobile with this phone? The article said no HSPA speeds but that can't be entirely true can it? Is the same issue on the S4 variant?

The GS4 having a better button layout for stock software? You're joking right? The GS4 has a menu button, which completely screws up the UX.

The HSPA/AWS issue, is because the unlocked version of the One doesn't support that band... That's unrelated to the GS4.

So I have a T-Mobile HTC One right now and I wasnt gonna get this One GE version. But my decision got easier seeing as the aws band wouldn't be supported and since I don't have lte here yet I'm not gonna give up my great "4g" speeds for edge

T-Mobile has been rolling out 1900mhz support to many locations. This allows you to get 3G with devices intended for AT&T such as legacy iPhones. If you have a 1900Mhz T-Mobile tower nearby you wouldn't go down to Edge with this device.

True. This is a good point. I live about 20 mins from Anaheim, CA and I know their 2G has been coverted over to hspa+ and the same thing goes for LA but I'm not around in those areas that much

No IR blaster on the Google version? Does anyone know of the GS4 Google version still has it's IR blaster?

As much as I bag on the HTC One (and HTC deserves every bit of criticism), I am overjoyed to see that Vanilla Android phones are making a comeback. Finally. Better late than never.

All these, "Nexus experience" devices are cool and I'm glad to see more oems going this route but I'm fine with my Nexus 4 and perfectly content to wait till the next one comes out. Frankly, chasing every single hardware bump that is released every quarter is a waste of money in my opinion. Unless Google cancels their Nexus program, that's what I'm sticking with.

Dear Sony,

Can you please pony up and put a Xperia ZL Google Edition on the Play Store too?

Thanks for your time,
Interested Samsung User

From the article:
"For those of you holding out hope for an HTC One (or equivalent) device on Verizon, you'll just have to keep waiting."

Hmm... I think I'll never understand the situation of so tightly tied phones and subscriptions you seem to have in the US. I'm wondering, if you're on Verizon, and you want a phone they don't carry, why not just buy that phone elsewhere and put your Verizon SIM card in it?

Verizon doesn't use SIM cards, they are using CDMA (not GSM) technology on their network. Different radio frequencies also.

Personally I think all Android phones should be sold as a Google Exp. phone. The manufactures should sell their App(skins),Touchwiz, Sense, etc through the play store if you want that sort of thing...

Just my .02

"Wanna Be Gangsters"

You talk about drinking the Kool-Aid..

In less than 30 minutes you can be Rooted and have a Stock "Debloated ROM", The Clean ROM, Or just Rooted and De-Bloat just what you want so you don't loose the Camera's Features or Blinkfeed or whatever you want to keep.. and just TB freeze or remove the rest.. You don't need a *Developer's Edition* to do that..

But I guess that why you are "Wanna Be Gangsters" afraid to loose you warranty..

Grown some Balls.. Go get your One.. And clean it up yourself.. Geez.. Too Funny.

Oh and the "Official Update" They get ported and zipped in a matter of days.. just flash it in TWRP or CWM.. Get some Balls people...

Days? Try hours.

You would think installing a rom was rocket-surgery. There are step-by-step instructions all over the interwebs.

There are even threads titled "how to unroot & relock your (phone name) to return it to (carrier name)".

It is laughably easy.

Doesn't always work like that. I had a Galaxy S3. I rooted it, and put CM on it... Aside from the fact that there is a lead time between when Google releases a new version of Android, and when the next version of CM is done.... CM doesn't always equal stock experience.

In my case, I needed Device Encryption, becuase it's required in my enterprise. At the time, the latest release of CM did NOT support device encryption, due to a show-stopper bug. If the screen turns off, the device will reboot when the screen turns back on.

On the older versions, where Device Encryption did work, the unencrypt option was bugged. It did not wipe the system partition, making it so if you tried to unencrypt, the phone would boot-loop. You would need to reflash the stock recovery, because neither TWRP or ClockWork on the GS3 would correctly wipe an encrypted system partition. When you wiped it with the stock recovery, then you'd need to flash TWRP or Clockwork back on.

That was a lot of effort for me to get it to work, but at the end of the day, I was still left with a version of CM that was not built on the latest version of Android, as the latest one still had the screen bug.

If you get the Google ROM, everything will just work out of the box. When I looked at the forums on XDA, seemed not many people used Device Encrpytion, so the bug wasn't getting looked at.

I have my AT&T Black HTC One 64GB and I am totally in love. I rarely ever flip to the BlinkFeed screen so that doesn't bother me. Sense isn't that intrusive and your can just disable all those things anyway. While it's not stock, it still pretty darn smooth and buttery!!!
I just hope HTC updates this to 4.2.2 soon so they can prove their commitment to the phone..

I'd bet it gets it after the HTC One GE. It will be interesting to see how much longer it will take for the Sense One to get 4.2.2 after the GE One.

I hope HTC gets around to fixing the email app. They didn't bother to port over Certificate based Authentication. So if your enterprise requires it, none of HTC's Android phones will work, and you'll be SOL. To get it to work, you'll need to root your phone, and install the AOSP email app. (Then unroot, if you are using MobileIron)

I had to install the AOSP calendar app too, cuz the Sense Calendar app was a piece of crap. If you tapped on "Show invite in Calendar", it would show you your agenda for the *Current Day* on your calendar, rather than the day of the actual invite.

Shut up everyone! The One and S4 are for people who love the UIs and the convenience features that come with them. Be thankful the OEMs came up with these Google Editions to cater to those people who prefer them stock. You guys keep justifying your preferences to those who think otherwise. There are 7 billion people in this world. You gonna argue to those who think differently than you? You got a lot of work in your hands. Stop wasting your time and leave them be.

No AWS support for Tmobile 1700mhz bands is a deal breaker for me. They did the same thing with the Sense dev version. Why market an unlocked GSM device in the US that will only get you HSPA+ on TMo in areas that have the refarmed 1900 bands? Silly

What exactly does that mean, and is it the same for GS4 Googe Edition? Does it only affect if you use Tmobile's HSPA+. How big of difference does it make, and will you get any HSPA+ on Tmobile?

It means that you will only get 2g speeds on T mobile except in those areas where they have recently turned on the 1900mhz which is what AT&T uses. Check tmobile website to find out if you have it in your area. I have it in Seattle but if I go 30 miles in any direction I would drop to 2g Edge Network speeds with the One dev or Google phone. FAIL! I'm pretty sure the GS4 has the 1700mhz bands but I'll have to go check

You guys do realize that their HSPA+ will be running on 1900mhz by the end of the year just about everywhere, right? They have to do this for their LTE rollout that is supposed to cover 200 million people by the end of 2013. It could suck for a little while, but it should be relatively short lived.

Most of the network will be converted "soon", but that is meaningless right now. I don't want a phone that will work awesomely in eight months if I can get one that does that right now.

I would have picked up a developer edition if it were not for this. It would have been a loophole to get 64 GB on T-Mobile.

I think a lot of TMo customers feel the same way. So basically this phone will work well on one major carrier and that's AT&T

>"wasn't designed to be a vanilla Android device. So there will be trade-offs, make no mistake."

And one of the biggest is little carrier choice AGAIN. Not supporting two of the four biggest carriers is annoying.

How many LTE bands would it need? AWS, the larger PCS band Sprint uses, two different 700 MHz bands. Down the road you'd need 800, 850, and some of those higher 2000+ frequencies that are coming.

It's more complicated than that. The CDMA radios that Sprint and Verizon use are proprietary and not open source like GSM. That's why you can't get a Nexus 4 on Sprint or Verizon. They built CDMA versions of the Galaxy Nexus but I guess it was a major pain for Google so they said no to the N4. I would be surprised if we ever see a CDMA Nexus device again

That would make the decision easy for me since I'm on T-Mobile. Although I'm assuming I'm using the 1700mhz bands in my area. Really surprised Google didn't use the T-Mobile version of the One, I think it has all the bands for both T-Mobile and AT&T. Google is typically very friendly with T-Mobile.

Assuming someone puts CM on it, can't they also put the softkeys on the screen? There's more than enough room for them. That would solve my biggest issue. About the software features you'll loose. There'll probably be someone out there who will release very similar apps on Google Play.

I'm sure you can easily add sw buttons but those crazy capacitive buttons aren't going anywhere. At least on gs4 you can disable them and they aren't even visible.

This alone is a deal breaker for me... If I'm gonna pay that much money for a phone, it better be perfect with no compromises. Crazy button layout (it ain't even close to Nexus) or even worse - buttons that don't do anything (if you use sw instead) - is unacceptable.

I'm getting gs4 and will flash it with cm10 when it's stable

On my Galaxy S3, you just had to root the phone, and modify the biuldprops file, to disable the HW buttons and re-enable the software buttons. Then unroot, so MobileIron was happy. (If you were using that)

I guess that you will get tethering, like in the Nexus 4, right? It is strange that this is not mentioned in the article or comments, unless this is a taboo topic by advertisers' rules.

The dev edition with stick Android. I still won't like it even with stock. S4 GE, here I come.

Can I install any ROM's that are available for the M7 HTC One, on the Google Play Edition? Or do I have to wait for GPE specific builds?