Vanilla Android versions of flagship phones are fast becoming de-rigeur, it seems, amid rumours on tech sites today that HTC is following Samsung’s lead in creating a stripped-back edition of its top-of-the-range smartphone.
Conjecture around HTC’s plans for a version of the One without its proprietary Sense user interface first surfaced during last week's Google I/O showcase.
Responding to Google’s surprise announcement of the Nature UX-free Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus edition, an HTC rep tweeted that consumers now “can pay $649 for a piece of plastic running stock or… You can wait :) #IO13”.
Although she didn’t expound further, the tweet was taken to be confirmation that the HTC One, which features an expensive-feeling metal build in contrast to the Galaxy S4’s plastic construction, is also in line for a vanilla Android version.
Since then, Jeff Gordon of HTC came forward to refute the speculation. But as if to confirm that you probably shouldn’t believe anything until it’s officially denied, today @LlabTooFeR, who you may know from his day job of leaking ROMs to smartphone fanatics, has today thrown his weight behind the rumours.
According to Llab, who always seems remarkably well informed on Android matters, the HTC One Google edition is ‘fact’ and is due this summer.
HTC has yet to respond to his comments, but we’re not sure the phone will be changing their stance any in the near term, so it’s unlikely it's about to acknowledge the tech-site chatter anew.
As with the Galaxy S4 Google edition, we expect the fresh take on the One to be sold solely SIM free through the Google Play online store and that its appeal will largely be restricted to developers.
Some take-up is also likely from tech fans who appreciate the fact that vanilla Android phones get new editions of Google’s software before skinned smartphones.