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.
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!