If you were hoping the announcement of the Galaxy S4 sans TouchWiz at Google I/O this week would start an industry-wide trend, where manufacturers would throw off their user interfaces like the shackles of oppression, prepare yourself for some disappointment. A spokesperson from HTC has told TechnoBuffalo it currently has no plans to do the same with its own flagship Android phone, the HTC One.
In a way it’s not a surprise, as HTC ships the One with Sense 5.0, a completely new version of its user interface on which it obviously worked hard. Abandoning it in the hope of selling a few unlocked phones through Google Play sounds like a waste of resources. When you’re Samsung though, diversifying the Galaxy S4 this way carries little or no risk. An easy decision to make when you’re making a fat pile of cash.
HTC already does its bit for developers, which is really who the stock Android version of the Galaxy S4 is aimed at, with the Developer Edition of the HTC One, a device it sells directly to customers through its website for $575. Like the S4, it has an unlocked bootloader, and comes SIM-free for use on most GSM networks. Motorola also uses the Developer Edition name for its range of unlocked phones, and charges $599 for the Droid Razr HD.
Google will start selling its version of the Galaxy S4 on June 26 for $650 through Google Play, and if you’re wondering why we’re skirting around its name, it’s because Google hasn’t confirmed what it’ll be yet. A last-minute leak called it the Google Edition, but Nexus Edition or Developer Edition is just as likely, or it could just keep it simple and call it the Galaxy S4. As for all the other Android manufacturers, although we’d like to see Google and Samsung’s move start a trend, it’s probably a far off dream.
Updated on 22/05/2013 by Andy: A developer with close ties to HTC has said via Twitter that actually, HTC is planning to release an HTC One without its HTC Sense user interface over the top of Android. He claims to know the phone exists, “As a fact,” and says it could be announced at the end of the summer. As good as this sounds, the above statement comes from HTC itself, so it’s the one we should treat as being correct at the moment.
Article originally published on 05/16/2013