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First Look: Gorgeous phone design meets pristine Android

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First Look: Gorgeous phone design meets pristine Android

2:29 /

The $599 HTC One Google Play Edition melds the all-metal style of the HTC One with fresh, clean Android Jelly Bean.

Hi. This is Brian Bennett for CNET.com and I've got a treat for you today, Android fans. Here in my hands is the HTC One Google Play Edition. Essentially, it flaunts all the premium style of the standard HTC One but instead of HTC Sense UI layered over Android, this phone runs clean and adulterated Android 4.22 Jelly Bean. That's currently the most recent version of Google's mobile software. Even better, Google says that the HTC One Google Play Edition, GPE for short, qualifies as a true Nexus class handset. That means it will be first in lines for the fresh Android updates as they were allowed just like other Nexus phones. This also sounds pretty sweet but the HTC One GPE will cost a lot of bill upfront, $599 to be exact. Google plans to sell the device directly through its Google Play Store and the phone should hit shelves by July 9th. So, what does all this cash net you? First, you get oodles of premium design and build quality courtesy of the HTC One's now iconic all aluminum chassis. What's really different here though is the software this phone runs with freshest version of Android Jelly Bean, yet the 1 GPE has a clean, simple interface that's nimble and responsive. There's no carrier bloat where [unk] 3rd party apps anywhere to be apps anywhere to be found either. To be clear though, you do miss out on all the slick innovations in HTC Sense such as the Zoe Share and video highlight camera features, the TV remote app that uses the one's IR blaster and useful weather and messaging notifications. BlinkFeed is gone too but I doubt its absence will cause a riot. The Jelly Bean camera app isn't that Barebones. It features an HDR mode, a number of C modes, manual white balance and exposure controls all in an arc shape UI. You also have the photos for your feature which stitches images into 360 panoramas, plus an ordinary horizontal panorama mode. Google says that the unlocked HTC One GPE which runs on GSM solar networks, will accept SIM cards from T-Mobile and AT&T. It is also designed to grab 4G LTE signals if available. I'm Brian Bennett for CNET.com and this has been a first look at the HTC One Google Play Edition. Is it the ultimate combination of smartphone, hardware and software? Be sure to check back soon for a full review.

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