HTC may provide a way for current HTC One users to switch to a stock Android “Nexus Experience”


Nexus Experience HTC One the Google way

It looks like a new interesting tidbit has emerged from today’s Nexus Experience HTC One announcement. While getting some hands-on time with the device, the boys at The Verge were able to squeeze out some new information about the Nexus One, er- “NE” One.

First up, the device’s capacitive buttons will not be changed in any way, performing exactly as they currently do on the HTC One Sense 5 version. This means that dreaded black menu bar will still rear its ugly head in a handful of “legacy” apps. Arrrgh…

Secondly, it seems HTC has been playing damage control and wants to make sure early adopters of the device aren’t feeling like they’ve been bamboozled. It wasn’t specifically mentioned how they were going to do it, but apparently HTC is currently looking into ways current HTC One can escape out of Sense land — that is providing, they want out. Our guess is something along the lines of a flashable stock RUU that will align your device with Google’s servers for near-instant firmware updates from the mothership. We’ll have to see.

Of course, whether it’s the official Nexus Experience HTC One from the Google Play Store, or an HTC One you’ve reverted to stock, keep in mind that many of the Sense 5 software features that make the device great will be forfeited. Things like the IR blaster functionality, Zoes, Sense 5 apps, and yes, even BlinkFeed, will not be transitioning over to stock Android AOSP. Oddly enough, one feature that will find itself ported over is the device’s signature Beats Audio, but this time around it wont have the option to disable. I’m going to need a new sub-woofer.

Seems being the underdog and pushed against the wall has definitely placed HTC in a unique position. They’re now doing whatever they can to listen to, not just their customers, but Android’s very vocal minority who demand a stock experience from their devices. Let’s hope this is just the beginning of great things from them.

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. I’m sure many Verizon and Sprint users would be happy.

    1. I cant imagine verizon being adaptable to this strategy and ultimately they dont have to be.

    2. As a Sprint user, HELL YEAH

    3. because verizon has an HTC ONE?

      1. Supposedly, there’s ONE in the works.

    4. They would need to make an HTC One for Sprint and Verizon first.

      1. I think you accidentally included sprint in that statement lol

      2. The HTC One for Sprint has been out a while. But they’re not offering the Google Edition phone on CDMA, so not sure if they’ll offer the rom.

  2. Being that this would be an “option” I’d sweet if it’s true. Then that would make the transition to key lime pie that much easier and hoping it would come with features that would utilize the hardware.

  3. and here I was feeling slighted by being an early adopter of the HTC One. If this is true, BRAVO, HTC. My first Android phone was the Evo, then the Galaxy S2 and S3. I’d be an HTC buyer for life after a consumer friendly move like that. Never thought I’d see the day. I gotta say, I’ll slightly miss the Zoes, but I can’t figure out how to do that thing where multiple motion frames all show in one photo so you can see the movement in a single static shot, so I’m not too bothered.

    EDIT: losing Beats Audio also would have bothered me, but apparently those are safe in ASOP. :D

    1. I think the Beats Audio feature is more hardware than software, which could be a reason why it is kept. But I’m not 100% certain.

      1. All I know is the front facing speakers sound bleh without it. I’m glad it’s staying :)

        1. Why is nobody talking about how stock android would affect the picture quality of the Ultrapixel camera? All the software optimizations done by HTC in Sense for the camera would be lost.

          1. the camera and ir blaster is what worries me about all of this

      2. Beats is software I believe. there is Devs out there that have made all in one audio enhancement with beats, Dolby and the like.

      3. My audio expertise only goes as far as, “I like music”, but I’ve always understood that beats is software. That’s why there are similar features out there from independent devs.

    2. You go through the menu for picture editing, retouch, sequence shot, select the frames you want to make the composite and execute it. I had to Google it for the wife.

      1. Thank you!

  4. If ever the “Nexus” version of the HTC One proves to be more popular then the original HTC One. If I was HTC CEO, I would immediately shut down the HTC Dept in charge of the HTC Android flavor.

    1. While it’s a valid point, I don’t think that will happen. Not many actually know of Nexus devices, and many don’t care about a stock experience (read: majority of normal consumers). Don’t forget, we (the nerds browsing Android tech sites) are in the vast minority of the smartphone world.

      1. But we are a very vocal minority and were a significant driving force that’s helped push Android adoption to what it is. Many of us have converted our entire families (I’m personally responsible for 16 Android adopters most of whom have both a phone and a tablet). We’re also the ones they ask for help. My most common statement is “If it were stock Android,________would work right. Next time buy stock Android.” Unfortunately, that (until now) has meant “get a Nexus,” which doesn’t always fit the bill. Now, when I tell people to get a stock Android, they’ll have choices. I can pretty much guarantee that if this trend keeps up, the majority of my family (as well as others) will be listening to the tech nerd in the family and choosing from a variety of stock Android phones.

      2. i am with you on this, but my reason for liking certain overlays is because vanilla is UGLY as F*&K, sorry

        1. Haha, I just like some of the additions HTC has thrown in. I don’t think stock is quite ugly, but I like the black/white HTC is using.

  5. It’s things like this that make me like HTC

  6. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand times. That dumb ass button configuration COMPLETELY ruins and otherwise perfect phone. Well beside the headphone port being on top but that’s bearable. The button setup is definitely not. Especially for a “STOCK” android experience.

    1. The software experience is “stock.” The hardware, isn’t. :P

      1. Google pushing 2 button layout, HTC follows it, and now people blame HTC for that. soooo weird.

        1. I agree with you but they are just buttons. Why is everyone so worried about them anyway? The android purists are so annoying at times. I’ve been using android since the my touch 3g and I really don’t mind something like button layouts as much as these guys. They complain over everything.

        2. i couldve swore google was pushing a 3 button layout not 2….

    2. I really thought it would be coming from a gs4 but using it with my right hand it really works. I don’t think it’s a dumb ass layout just different from normal

    3. I would have preferred a middle home button. But coming from the OG four button layout where there was no middle home button; I got used to it real quickly.

      1. Just install a kernel that enables the HTC logo to be used as a button, problem solved.

        1. It’s not really a button though. It’s just using the very bottom of the display to pretend like there’s a button there, but there isn’t.

          1. That’s how the other two buttons are as well, yes?

          2. nope. back and home are seperate from the screen and have sensors under them. The htc button mod just steals a tiny portion of the screen just above the htc logo to act as a button. pressing the htc logo does nothing. you have the press the lower part of the screen just above the htc logo.

          3. Thanks!!

    4. It takes a whole 2 days to get used to. Hardly a dealbreaker.

    5. I thought I would mind too….but i quickly got over it (and by quickly, I mean after about an hour)

  7. This would be amazing!

  8. Fish don’t fry in the kitchen, beans don’t burn on the grill. It took a whole lot of trying. Just to get up that hill. HTC is moving on up!

  9. I’m kinda sad that the IR Blaster won’t be kept… Since the hardware is there, maybe a simple app can make the IR Blaster function, or HTC can provide the app for it and make it exclusive to the HTC One. But overall, I’m super stoked that this is a possibility!

    1. I haven’t been able to figure out what is going on with IR blasters. Is it just so rare hardware-wise that there are no apps for them? They are low data devices and seem ideal to be a plug-in for tasker or llama, but the IR apps that are available need the headphone–>IR blaster dongle. A built-in IR blaster is not even supported. And the apps for them are expensive.

      1. I think its a small margin of Android users that have an IR Blaster on their phone, but I’m sure with time, we’ll see more apps that utilize the IR Blaster, since sales of the H1 and S4 have been spectacular.

    2. I remembered seeing Sense TV released as app on google play. Not sure if IR blaster could be activated by installing it… BTW, it’s not a free APP tho.

        1. great ap. better then htcs built in app, but doesnt work on aosp roms. not unless htc decides to release the drivers atleast…

    3. I’d love to see the HTC source for that bit… Who at HTC said IR functionality wouldn’t be ported or otherwise made available?

      Edit: I’ve heard that the hardware might be “enabled”, but it is simply that AOSP doesn’t use it…an app would supposedly be able to (and such apps already exist). If this is the case, they can do the same with just about every other “missing” feature.

      Blinkfeed, Zoe, Burst-mode, IR…all can be made available through Play or from HTC as apks.

    4. Don’t lose hope in the ROM Devs

    5. Most likely there are app developers working on this to support the hardware already!

  10. I assume the IR blaster would still be accessible wouldn’t it? Couldn’t you just simply download Peel and use it?

    1. Could be a proprietary driver issue…

  11. Having a non-functioning I/R BLASTER is a definite no-go,akin to having a non-functioning turbocharger on your favorite sportscar,WHY BOTHER………………………

    There’s gotta be some way to make this functional & appease the NEXI sheep…………….

    1. We don’t know if it’s non-functioning, or just needs a 3rd Party app. Most likely the latter, since leaving the driver out could cause other issues.

      1. I like the way the I/R BLASTER is integrated w/the HTC CALENDAR,facilitating reminders/shortcuts to your favorite programming.I’m sure the NEXUS EXPERIENCE HTC ONE will/would be lacking this,even if it had I/R functions enabled,or,w/3rd party apps,unless HTC releases such app(s) to make this possible.

    2. Peel should solve that problem. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with that

      1. ir blasters in thecstore dont work on aosp “yet”
        no drivers for the hardware. smart ir remote is awesome on sense roms tho. better then the stock app, imo but $10

    3. Don’t worry too much about it. I think it might be possible for the Devs over at xda to get it to work. I remember when some phones had built in fm radios but were sometimes either disabled or broken and they got it to work.

      1. They’re a good bunch over @ XDA.I’m actually quite pleased w/the HTC ONE the way it is,less a few tweaks needed to the desktop/app drawer.

        Besides,the rumored HTC T6 has the the ONE beat hands-down,provided all the specs hold up:


  12. First, excited! But if this android vanilla will affect the ir blaster and the beats audio….nah! These are some nice feature of the phone I pay for!!!!

    1. it would really suck to lose IR blaster functionality, since I use it more than i thought i would….but I wonder if the IR blaster would be completely disabled, or if the TV app will just be removed? (some developer may be able to come out with a remote app that allows us to use the IR blaster again)

      and what’s wrong with BEATS?! haha

      1. If they disabled the beats, it may affect the original sound quality of the speakers. And I’m not interested with the third party apps, I like what included in the package.

        1. Beats will be included in the stock android rom…You just won’t be able to disable it. So I guess that’s a plus :)

          1. Thank you anyway! I’ve just using nova launcher and it looks stock android. Have a nice day mate!!!

  13. I am a Sprint user and I own HTC ONE and I am happy with it…. I am not crazy to switch to Google Edition, thank you Google and HTC.

    1. I agree that the vast majority of HTC one users are perfectly satisfied with how quick and smooth Sense 5.0 is (including me)….but it would still be sweet to have the option to go stock and get quick updates from google!

      1. I agree with you at this point. But, not to pay $600. for that.

        1. amen. but that’s the point of this article…..HTC will be offering current HTC One owners a way to flash stock android onto their current phones, so you won’t have to buy another 600 dollar phone. THAT’S what’s awesome about this :)

          1. I hope HTC do that, that’s it’d be nice idea.

  14. I expect this with Samsung Galaxy 4 too.

  15. Can they put Zoe still? I think that’s one cool software editing tool. I looked at the S4 and One at T-Mobile today. I am in favor of the One. What should I do? I sold my S3 for $345. I can buy a Nexus 4 from Google or Ebay outright. I can also buy a One, S4, Note II, Lumia 925, or iPhone 5 with a down payment around $350. Suggestions?

    1. If you’re on T-Mobile and looking at the One, get the T-Mobile version.

      T-Mobile is transferring their HSPA+ from AWS bands (where the LTE lives now) to 1900 bands (where AT&T’s HSPA+ lives). The Developer, Unlocked, and Nexus Experience One doesn’t have HSPA+ on AWS, so certain regions won’t have HSPA+ on T-Mo for a while. (The frequency change is happening faster than LTE roll-out, but my area doesn’t appear to be there on either yet.)

      1. I think I solved my issue. If I can find another job in the next month, I’ll get the HTC One. If not? Nexus 4. At worst, I get an LTE device (unofficially of course.)

    2. Had all them but the 925 had the 920 tho. so far I like my htc one more than any others

      1. But what about the idea of a down payment vs an outright Nexus 4?

  16. Well samsung your turn

    1. +1

    2. Umm… Samsung announced a Stock Galaxy S4 at GIO…

      1. yes, but what about those who already own an s4 like how this article pertains to those who already own n htc one.

        this article isnt about the google experience device. its for those who already have the skinned device and would rather have stock android without shelling out 600+ for the same phone minus the overlay.

  17. And yet no Verizon version in sight…

    1. Verizon never gets good phones, either get the Galaxy S4, iPhone 5, or switch carriers.

      1. Unfortunately I cannot switch carriers as Verizon is the only carrier with reliable service when I work.

  18. OK, HTC, *NOW* you have my attention again.

  19. What I find funny is the some android fanboys truly cant be happy. OEMs will be damned if they do and damned if they don’t. I understand for years we dreamed of having the choice to run a skin or stock android and here HTC is giving the current ONE users just what they want and still aren’t satisfied. But honestly, you had to have known that features that come with a skin won’t run on stock android, its only logical

  20. Still using the black bar on-screen.

    They refuse to re-map the buttons to a logical solution to eliminate this, like Samsung did. Menu, Home, Back. Long-press Menu to access search, Long-press Home to access multi-tasking.

    Yeah, lost interest right there. Looks like an S4 would have been my choice between these 2, just for that. Still not letting go of my S3 though, as I don’t see any major difference in the S4, other than slightly newer hardware and a bigger screen. An incremental update.

    1. Does the One not have the option in settings to change the hardware buttons? My One X had the menu bar at first but I just changed it in the Sense settings

      1. nope. hell, they even remove “stay awake when charging”

  21. This is ridiculous. Anyone who cares enough to want stock doesn’t need an official path as Xda will provide a safe method.

    1. You didn’t say that…

    2. This won’t void your warranty, and not everyone wants to deal with flashing ROMs. I’m guessing that the Google version will run better than a developer’s ROM anyway.

    3. XDA roms dont get updated thru google. nor do they have everything working currectly. not everyone wants to flash a new nightly everyday and play “what broke, what got fixed n whats still not working?. ;)

  22. I said this about a year ago. Maybe they were listening…..


  23. Not gonna lie, this would be awesome. I’ve wanted this from non-Nexus Android phones since day 1.

  24. “Things like the IR blaster functionality, Zoes, Sense 5 apps, and yes, even BlinkFeed, will not be transitioning over to stock Android AOSP. ”

    According to whom? Sure, most of these could simply be thrown on Play as Apps (so “not getting ported to AOSP” would be true, but not an issue), but the IR Blaster? I hardly see HTC not providing the functionality of this hardware for the AOSP devices.

    They seem to be aiming to please, here. Why stop short? Is there any HTC source for these statements??

  25. Stock android is just as outdated as iOS, why would anyone want to run that? I love sense…

    1. are you referring to the stock app drawer???

  26. You know it’s not super hard to remove the stock apps and replace them with AOSP. On my Epic Touch 4G a guy did this and it was an awesome rom and worked fine.

    Totally stock rom but the phone/txt/contacts/launcher and other base apps where ripped out and replaced by AOSP. If he could do it to one ROM then there is no reason it cannot be done to other phones ROM’s.

    Also for the “Google” Editions only being GSM… well that sucks and again shows Google plays either favorites or is plain lazy. With that I am betting that this HTC “Google experience” ROM will never hit CDMA.

    1. While I agree with your sentiments about the ‘only GSM’ thing, I think you do have to lay more blame at the feet of Verizon/Sprint for that. However, it seems to me that with a little effort Google could take them to task for it.. especially Sprint just because they have less clout than Verizon.

      I have no problem with CDMA networks, but they really need to work it out so you can bring in a foreign ESN. The monolithic protectionism era is over, boys.

    2. You’re mistaken. It’s not laziness it’s the principle of CDMA. Google can make a GSM version without having to work with AT&T or T-Mobile at all because GSM is standardized. With CDMA they have to work with the carrier and each and every update has to go through and be approved by the carrier. That at its core is at odds with the notion of having a phone that gets updates directly from Google. And don’t point to the Galaxy Nexus because that’s the reason we got here. Google tried and failed. The Galaxy Nexus, despite how good of a phone it is, is not a Nexus because updates are delayed.

  27. I hope someday all manufacturers opt for this choice.

  28. If I could get a verizon HTC One stock Android, I would buy it today!

  29. It’s funny that all the complaints that people wish they could have a Nexus HTC One or stock UI and now that HTC announced their going to make stock available to current One owners everyone is saying “Oh no but what about my Sense 5 features!?”

    I think it’s obvious that Sense 5 is extremely likeable, heck I’m loving Sense 5 and even if HTC let’s us switch to stock I would stay with Sense 5.

    1. i dont think its the sense 5 features people dont want to lose. its the proper functionality of the hardware they dont want to loose/sacrifice. IR blaster, ultra pixel Camera and front dual stereo speakers. These hardware components shouldnt have to be sacrificed because a ui overlay is removed.

      1. Personally, I disagree. Ultrapixel is apart of Sense so it shouldn’t be expected to have those if you lose sense.Not sure about IR blaster or anything but some of these things make sense(wasn’t a pun) that you’d lose since they are tied into the skin/ui.

        1. I see Ultra pixel as hardware. It’s larger pixels on the image sensor allowing more light in. I expect to lose zoe n stuff like that, but we shouldn’t get poorer image quality because we don’t have the correct drivers for the camera sensor.

  30. Hopefully this is the beginning of an era for Android OEMs. All of them should have this option for their flagships.

  31. Dont really use Blink Feed, the IR blaster, or ZOE……wouldnt care about losing those to go Stock Android. Bring it on HTC.

  32. That’s not the point. Google provides the ROM for their edition of the phone. XDA will rip it and provide it in easy flashing format. There will be no nightlies.

  33. They should call it the NEO … Nexus Experience One

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