The man who leaked the Galaxy S4 Google Edition now confirms HTC One Google Edition


HTC One watermark

It’s a rumor that wont seem to die — the HTC One “Google Edition.” We’re not sure if that makes it more legitimate, or if it’s because it’s an Android fanboys wetdream. In any case, this rumor has been given new life, this time thanks to‘s Russel Holly. This is the man behind the leaked Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition, the day before it was announced at Google I/O. Going by that track record, we’re inclined to listen.

Once again, it’s being whispered from “multiple sources” that the fabled HTC One “Senseless Edition” is, in fact, a real thing and that it will launch sometime in the coming weeks, starting first with the US. It’s this very specific region that suggests it could also be made available in the Google Play Store, but that’s only speculation.

We all know the story. During the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition announcement, an HTC rep tweeted from her personal account that we could either buy the GS4 running stock Android or… “wait.” Wait for what? Well, HTC’s Senior Global Online Communications Manager Jeff Gordon was quick to address blogs taking this as a confirmation from HTC that a Google Edition One was in the works. His words? “HTC is not currently planning a ‘Nexus Edition’ of the HTC One.” Very cut and dry.

It’s true HTC is well aware of the ever growing Android modding community, a very vocal minority that demands a stock Android experience from their devices, tinkering around with software, flashing custom ROMs, and drinking chicken blood around an iPhone set afire. To help deal with these wild boys, HTC formed HTCDev — a special group of their own developers working together with the modding community. HTCDev helps flashing addicts get their next fix by releasing kernel sources, and the stock RUU safety nets.

With HTC already providing a Developer Edition of the One with a fully unlocked bootloader — is there really any need, point, or more importantly demand for an HTC One Senseless Edition? As Holly points out in his article, HTC’s best features are its camera and front facing speakers — both of which rely on HTC’s software tweaks to make them great. One could argue that by providing an HTC One Google Edition with diminished camera and audio quality, it would do nothing but hurt HTC’s image, something they’ve been working so hard at building back up with the One.

If nothing else, there are other options. If HTC could simply work with Google to include the HTC One Developer Edition into AOSP, that could be an easier, less costly route. As for a release date on this rumored HTC One running a stock Android experience, Geek’s sources claim it will be announced within the next 2 weeks and released in the summer. That means we wont have to wait long before we find out if this is rumor pans out, so we  can finally put it to rest.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. $650

    1. never mind, every high-end must be a Google Edition! :)
      if you like high end, you have to pay, I will :)

      1. i am agreeing with you, but why not leave all the nice features like camera speakers etc. Once we have the google edition we will loose those nice features on the One. I hate those HTC buttons

    2. Same price range, if not the same price, as buying an subsidized phone to keep unlimited data (on Verizon at least).

  2. Russel Holly is LEGIT!

    He is a TRUE Android Fanboy and a part of the BIGANDROIDBBQ team.

    He has a very real tap, because unlike many tech sites, he is actually respected by the developer community. People talk to him. He hangs in the IRC channels. Most everything gets leaked there. People need to talk.

    1. Very true comments about #RussellHolly . I agree with you completely.

  3. I actually drink apple juice while standing around an iPhone set on fire.

  4. I hope they make a “Polycarbonate Edition” too, because some of us prefer a better phone instead of a “more premium-feeling” phone. And add a SDXC slot and the deal’s sealed. >:}

    1. That would require a redesign and Nexus devices don’t have SD anyways.

      1. Some of the international variants have an SD card so I’m not so sure that is the case. Also, Galaxy S4 Google edition has an SD. So you never know.

    2. Get the S4. It also has a removable battery.

      1. Decisions, decisions…

    3. What a strange use of the subjective term, “better”. It’s almost like you *wanted* to start a flame-war…

      1. Because plastic *is* better in every way except the subjective “premium feeling” of metal.

        Plastic is:
        easier to work battery covers and sd slots into the design,
        warm to the touch in cold or hot weather,
        flexes back into shape when dropped instead of denting,
        lets radio waves pass through easier,
        doesn’t get nasty aluminum scratches,
        costs less to mass produce,

        Only shallow people WANT the metallic fad (that Apple started)

        1. Lighter != better

          Thinner != better

          removable parts != better

          …are you starting to see a pattern here?

          All of your “facts” are actually opinions. Which is fine, you’re welcome to them.

          The radio-waves one might be the only one that could possibly be conclusive, but there’s little to no *real* evidence to support it.

          My One gets excellent reception…my Galaxy Nexus and LG Spectrum were crap by comparison. …must have used the wrong kind of plastic on those. /s

          Point being: Like what you like. Even let people know you like what you like. But could ya maybe try not to tell other folks what they like is “worse”?

          And let’s back up a bit and not even start calling people “shallow”, shall we??

          1. Erm. Wrong.

            Lighter == better, because nobody wants a lead weight in their hands or pocket.
            Thinner == better, because it leaves more room for components (like sd slots) inside the case vs metal

            And all my other points are facts too – you just choose to color them as opinions because the “premium feel build quality” groupthink is clouding your judgement.

          2. Obviously I am arguing with someone who refuses to use reason…

            There is such a thing as too light.

            There is such a thing as too thin.

            The amusing thing is that I have not even stated a personal opinion and yet you’ve already pegged me as “the enemy”. What more proof could anyone ask for that you are completely blinded by your own emotionally guided irrational bias?? Clouded judgement? Yeah…say hello to the mirror, my friend.

            I own Samsung. I own HTC. I even own LG.

            You can claim your opinions are fact all day long…all it does is make you look less and less rational. But hey, if that’s what you’re going for…

          3. I didn’t say TOO light, I said lighter. I didn’t say TOO thin, I said thinner. All else being equal, plastic is better.

          4. *laughing my ass off*

            Do you read your own material man? That was epic.

            “lighter is better!!!” (Unless it’s too light)

            Too rich…too rich.

            You do realize that’s the entire point, right? What may be “too light” to you or me may be “too heavy” to someone else.

            Guess what?? ….it’s subjective! …/smh

          5. …and there’s the name calling.

          6. Samsumg plastic is wack and their radios too period. Learn about technology already.

        2. yeah it’s not as if the phone was made out of gold and lined with diamonds. Now, that’s premium.

  5. I would hope they remove their stupid two button controls for the google edition then we will have a perfect divice

    1. If they just made that bottom bar go away in favor of on screen buttons. Imagine movies in landscape without that bottom bar in the way and those speakers.

      1. That’s what I hope they do

      2. I have never seen that bar. The 1st thing I did when I got that phone was root it and threw a custom ROM on it. LoL!! I’m guessing that bar is somewhat similar to a NAV bar?

        1. I mean the physical strip across the bottom where the HTC logo and capacitive buttons are. I’m saying get rid of that and go edge to edge top to bottom to the speakers. Just seems like wasted space when they could accomplish the same feat with onscreen buttons.

          1. wouldnt that give the phone some kind of weird ratio like 16×11? Then movies wouldnt fit properly anyway.

      3. Hell yes brother !!

    2. The button configuration is terrible and ruins the HTC one.

      1. I don’t think it ruins it. Have you owned one for more than a week? I got used to the button layout within the first week. Although it may seem weird when on paper, but it’s not all that bad.

    3. what do you.mean..? Remove the two button and, that is the perfect phone. Or better say,remove the two button and the htc logo and make equal sides to become perfect.

    4. device*

    5. Exactly. The controls are integrated into the OS so until manufacturers make them part of the screen, I will stick with the Nexus line.

    6. Doubt it because it’s Google themselves who don’t want the menu button on Android anymore.

  6. If this is true they should leave HTC’s camera software intact. They should also leave Samsung’s camera software intact.

    1. Well considering it should be easily rooted, I would think it wouldn’t be too far fetched to say that someone could extract the camera software to use on the Nexus edition models.

      1. I think I had read somewhere that its not possible to put the Samsung or HTC camera software on a AOSP ROM. Due to driver or framework issues. Something to that affect.

        1. That makes sense. I think it’s driver issues. Reason being because I can’t use SixAxis on the HTC One but on AOSP, I can. SixAxis Developer said it was related to the drivers.

        2. Yeah, from what I understand, you need the drivers and those are proprietary. :/

          1. Ideally, it would be an AOSP based ROM that HTC would include the proprietary drivers in.

          2. Not going to happen. They would pretty much have to give away the source code to their proprietary drivers which would defeat the purpose of then being proprietary.

          3. Yeah, I know, but a guy can dream.

          4. Guess that makes sense. Oh well. I’m willing to make sacrifices for pure Android.

          5. you are idiot

    2. could not agree more, If we get these Google Editions we will loose other features including in Sense and Towchwiz.

    3. On one hand, O agree. On the other, I really don’t. Half the point of vanilla is to get Google support immediately. That isn’t going to happen if, with every official Android update, the handset manufacturer has to inject, test, and release their own software. I’d rather get everything Google gives me today, and wait for an addon tomorrow.

  7. I really like Google’s approach to having the stock experience on major devices. In a way, it confirms the rumor that was heard a while back, about Google releasing multiple Nexus devices from the major manufacturers.

    1. Wake me when there is a HTC One – Nexus version

      1. Don’t be like Green Day now… lol

  8. Will it work on Verizon!? Holy $&%* will I buy this phone on the spot! I like my galaxy nexus, but it needs a refresh. Aha

    1. Nexus and Verizon are like oil and water.

      1. Yeah sadly we will never get a Nexus again…back to AT&T for me I guess

      2. Taste great together, but never fully mix…. so true my friend.

  9. Make a 32 GB one and I’m sold. Instant buy.

    This one will undoubtedly still have no SD card slot. So, make it 32 GB to make up for the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition has a slot.

    1. Well the One starts off at 32GB, so I’m sure you’d be fine.

      1. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to only be 16GB and has no external memory, just like the Droid DNA was compared to the international HTC Butterfly. There is a 16GB HTC One in Taiwan, they’ll probably just take that, add LTE modem, stock Android and unlocked bootloader.

        Note how the Galaxy S4 only has 16GB but also has expandable memory. Now that was probably Samsung’s own decision. Google won’t encourage HTC to add removable storage as Nexus devices don’t either.

    2. Not necessarily true. The Chinese version has SD. We can play the radio size game, but I don’t buy that answer.

      1. The Chinese one also has dual SIM slots if I remember correctly and probably doesn’t support LTE or at least not US friendly LTE bands. Don’t expect a new phone or a modified version in any way shake or form other than software. These are most likely just literally unlocked US versions running AOSP instead of the normal software. The hardware is probably identical to US GSM carrier models.

        1. HTC’s “reason” for no expandable memory is that there’s not enough space for a MicroSD slot on the international one after putting in the radios. Seriously who believes them???

  10. Hmmmm. I’m almost starting to get worried here. Is Google ditching the Nexus line and opting to take existing phones and make them nexus-like? I don’t like this at all. But, from a $$ standpoint to Google it makes sense. Much more profitable to take an existing high volume phone and slap vanilla android on it than to design a not so great selling custom nexus phone.
    The point of the nexus line was for Google to show the direction it thought hardware design should go. Well, they have Motorola to do that now. So, in Google’s mind, what is the benefit of continuing with the Nexus?
    We have heard no rumors about the next Nexus phone.
    I really really hope I’m completely wrong.

    1. The Nexus line targets a high-end device that’s affordable and runs stock Android.

      These devices are nowhere near the Nexus’ price point :P

      1. Very true. If Google starts to offer these kind of devices at the lowered prices, that’s when I’ll start getting worried. I can just see it coming.

      2. thee hundred dollars less :)

    2. I’m pretty certain that Google doesn’t design the Nexus phones. Each manufacturer can submit a potential nexus and then Google pick the one they like and it becomes the next Nexus.

    3. LG’s CEO already said they’re making the next Nexus. I’m pretty convinced, though that’s not hard to do lol.

  11. IT will happen but i dont care. i got my ONE for 540 new on ebay. now S OFF and rooted.

    1. Good news is this Nexus edition is probably literally the unlocked HTC One running AOSP. If you have the AT&T model, you should theoretically be able to flash the official Nexus ROM onto it and get your updates straight from Google. And if you like custom ROMs, this should make them a lot better because it gives developers a better base to build off of with better driver support.

      1. I don’t think you’d get the updates direct from Google – those are typically sent by the IME ID (or whatever random group of letters it is) of the phones, which the Unlocked (Sense 5) One’s wouldn’t match with the “Nexus-like” One’s, therefore, not able to receive updates unless Google is able to (or willing to) add your IME to it’s list of Updates (though I doubt it – would require stock recovery, bootloader, etc.).

        1. Of course, you could just flash those updates two hours after the dev phone get’s ’em. (You know they’ll be available…)

          1. Yeah, but I think he meant OTA updates from Google.

          2. I know he meant OTA updates. But it’s ok; We’d be able to flash those manually within hours of them being pushed.

  12. I think they would be better off with just allowing those who want it the option to do an update and remove Sense or release the code so the devs can make an awesome ROM or rooted users can remove sense.

    1. Well with these being Nexus devices you would have that. I would think the images would be compatible with the “normal” versions in the wild. Meaning the Nexus S4 AT&T ROM should be compatible with the normal S4 AT&T model, etc. Of course we won’t know until specs are released. My suspicion is that these are just the same US model devices just running AOSP. If true, the Nexus ROMs should be compatible with the non Nexus versions of the same phone.

  13. What software is needed for boom sound? Beats? Would a Google edition not have beats?
    The need for the Google edition over developer edition is that the developer edition won’t support tmo hspa+ (via engadget)
    Chavez! Great article again.

    1. Developer edition runs the same Sense UI but has an unlocked bootloader. The Google (Nexus) edition runs pure Android straight from Google and updates come from Google, just like other Nexus devices.

    2. Ahhhhh, good point. Pentaband would be an awesome addition to a HTC One Google Edition :)

      And “BoomSound” (front facing stereo speakers) still works on CM, but not Beats which drastically enhanced audio quality on the ff speakers.

      1. I wonder if something like AC1D SoundMod can be used as a substitue? It works on AOSP Roms on my Sensation

  14. Do we have a price and carriers? Will it have the rumored Chinese removable back for expandable storage and battery? Because that would be freaking sweet!

    1. Nothing is official, but my guess would be that these are simply unlocked versions of what’s already offered here. I would guess full AT&T support for sure and maybe full (meaning LTE) T-Mobile support. Keep in mind HTC doesn’t offer an unlocked HTC One that supports LTE.

  15. The phrase is “cut and dried”, you sorry excuse for a journalist.

    1. Sorry, Danny. It goes both ways. You knew the meaning. In any case, what does it have to with “journalism?”

  16. Waiting on the next Nexus

  17. If this is true it is unlikely that HTC will make the next Nexus phone.
    Because it would just be cruel to HTC customers wanting HTC hardware with google software.
    They might have bought the One and rooted etc to get a stock launcher on it….then the HTC ONE google edition is released…..and as a finishing blow a HTC NExus? Yeh not gonna happen. So either Google edition OR New nexus OR nothing at all.

    Then again IF HTC were to make the next Nexus I think we can almost be certain it will have a metal body!

    1. Yeah I think can assume that LG won’t put out an Optimus Whatever Google Edition in the same year it does a Nexus, so same thing. Makes sense.

  18. “As Holly points out in his article, HTC’s best features are its camera and front facing speakers — both of which rely on HTC’s software tweaks to make them great. ”

    Camera takes decent photo’s on CM…and amazingly? The front-facing speakers still work.

    You see, disabling “beats” and installing an equalizer (or PowerAmp and using it’s equalizer) gets the same results as “beats” on stock…so using DSP Manager, equalizer, or PowerAPM on CM on the One works just fine.

    Yes, I have CM on my One and the audio is just fine, and my camera still takes photos.

    1. That is 100% not true. Beats actually amplifies the sound and does so perfectly with the front facing speakers making the sound fuller and more robust. While you could try and simulate this on CM using EQ apps, it would still sound tinny and flat.

      Same with the camera. Here’s a comparison gallery showing Sense 5 vs CM10 camera on the HTC One:

      Sure the camera and front facing speakers still work, just not as well. This is the reason I wont bother flashing AOSP on my One.

      1. Odd m speakers don’t sound at all tinny to me…

        Must just be lucky, I guess.

  19. Hey Chris.! Any idea why my comments on this post only show on the desktop version not the Android app? Other thread comments show fine.

    1. Sometimes the mobile version of Disqus on the Phandroid app behaves weird. Comments always get posted, it’s just sometimes they don’t show up right away in the app. This is why sometimes you’ll notice people complaining someone deleted their comments, when they actually have double or triple posted comments.

    2. Lol. Chris, your response to me shows on desktop, but not in the app also. Lol

  20. I love the fact that Android vanilla is coming to more devices.

    1. I would prefer cappuccino or mocha, vanilla is bland. J/K

  21. Is this the same spy what was saying a while back that there would be multiple nexus devices from different OEMs. because in a way this is kinda making that out to be a rumor with some truth especially if that damn Moto X Man phone turns out to be a nexus device or just Motos new flagship that happens to get the Google Edition treatment….I came back to this story 3 days later to leave this comment. Who is this nerd ive become.

  22. is it the 64GB?

  23. cool

  24. If this is true, then this is the device I would rather get, as opposed to the SGS4 Google Edition, seeing as how I would be buying purely for hardware at this point.

  25. I highly doubt that the quality of the camera and speakers will be reduced due to the removal of HTC’s UI. I think they will have that resolved before releasing the final product.

  26. Is that really true? Without all of HTC’s crappy bloatware the HTC One’s camera and speaker would NOT work as well if the device was running stock Jelly Bean??? I find it hard to believe that Jelly Bean and Project Butter wouldn’t take full advantage of this phone hardware and I gotta say that ever since my 1st Android phone….the great HTC G1… I always wanted a stock Android experiance on a great HTC handset so this might be my dream come true!!! I mean I love Samsung and all but we all know that HTC’s build quality is higher than most and with this all metal case on the HTC One I bet this phone still holds true. Now the REAL choice….do I shoot for the Nexus version of the GS4 OR the HTC One????

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