Google has taken another step in its efforts to sell Android phones that run the software as it intends it.
At the All Things D conference Google Android and Chrome OS chief Sundar Pichai announced the HTC One Google Edition, which will take HTC's current One smartphone and put Google's untarnished version of Android on the phone.
HTC's One currently ships with HTC software tweaks to Android 4.1.2. With this phone, the phone will get Google's own stock version of Android without HTC's new camera features or its Blinkfeed home screen, which brings in personalized news and social updates. Earlier this month Google introduced the Samsung's Galaxy S4 with the same Google software experience. It scraps Samsung's new features for just Google's Android software.
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The new phone will be sold only through Google's Play Store for $599 starting June 26. Yes, it is more than the $199 HTC One at AT&T, but this version of the phone is unlocked. You don't have to sign a contract with a cellular carrier, but it will work on AT&T and T-Mobile's network. The rest of the HTC One hardware experience is the same. It has an ultrapixel camera, 4.7-inch, 1080p screen and a quad-core processor.
While phone makers have liked tweaking the Android software and adding features, Pichai said the introduction of the HTC One and Galaxy S4 Google Edition phones doesn't change Google's dedication to openness of Android. "These are the beginning steps about us thinking about how we can get the right user experience including the differentiators some OEMS [phone makers] want."