HTC One Google edition: It's real and coming in summer

HTC is planning a Sense-free version of its flagship phone, CNET has confirmed.

The HTC One Sarah Tew/CNET

The HTC One will indeed get the Nexus treatment.

HTC will sell a Google Edition version of its flagship One smartphone with the stock Android operating system, CNET has confirmed.

Word of a version of the phone without its trademark Sense user interface popped up earlier Friday on Geek.com, with a reported time frame of two weeks. HTC is indeed planning to launch the phone, but the only indication of timing was summer, a person familiar with the company's plans told CNET.

HTC has bet heavily that its Sense user interface will set its products apart from the rest of the Android pack. The move follows a similarly surprising announcement by Samsung Electronics that it would launch a version of its Galaxy S4 with stock Android. The phone strips out the many Samsung touches that were loaded into the phone.

The One has been critically lauded, but many feared its sales would be dampened by the launch of the Galaxy S4 and the accompanying marketing blitz by Samsung. But an HTC executive told The Wall Street Journal that it had sold 5 million units in the first month, indicating a strong start.

HTC has recently faced concerns about its longevity after The Verge reported several key employees had left the company. HTC continues to see shrinking sales and profits.

While there are some fans of Sense, there are many other Android fans who prefer a "pure" version of the phone with stock Android, which enables faster updates and the latest from Google.

There's no word on which carriers will sell the phone, or whether there will be a subsidy. The Galaxy S4 Google Edition is available only on select carriers and sold at its unsubsidized price of $650.

About the author

Roger Cheng is the executive editor in charge of breaking news for CNET News. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade. He's a devoted Trojan alum and Los Angeles Lakers fan.

 

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