Google has put the HTC One and Samsung ‘Google Edition’ phones on-sale in the Play Store as an exclusive for the US. Orders are being taken now and the phones will begin shipping on July 9th. The 32GB HTC One is available for $599, while the 16GB Samsung Galaxy S4 is selling for $649.
Unfortunately for Australians looking to import the phones, neither ‘Google Edition’ phone is compatible with Australian LTE Networks. The HTC One is listed as running ‘4G LTE (700 MHz, AWS)’ while the Samsung Galaxy S4 is listed with ‘4G LTE (700, 850, AWS, 1900 MHz)’, neither of which include the 1800MHz 4G frequency being used by our mobile operators currently. The Australian licenses for 700MHz spectrum go live on the 1st of January 2015, so we’re a little way off from that.
HTC has included a blog on their page about the HTC One, which includes a table of the differences between a stock HTC One, Developer edition HTC One and the Google Edition HTC One. But as we can only buy one of these here in Australia the point is effectively moot :
|SIM Unlocked||Developer Edition||Nexus experience|
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
LTE: 700/850/AWS/1900 MHz (US)
|Operating System||HTC Sense||HTC Sense||Android 4.2.2|
|Availability||Now on HTC.com||Now on HTC.com||June 26th via Google Play|
* The SIM Unlocked HTC One 32 GB version Bootloader can be Unlocked via HTCdev.com
** The HTC One Developer Edition ships Bootloader Unlocked
*** The HTC One special edition bootloader can be unlocked by standard method for “Nexus experience” devices
HTC have advised that the ‘Google Edition of the HTC One or ‘Special edition of the HTC One for Google Play’ as they’re calling it is running the latest 4.2.2 version of Android, with subsequent software updates coming directly from Google.
To their HTC Elevate members, HTC is advising :
What’s interesting about this version of the product is what you don’t get with it: no HTC Sense, no Zoes, no BlinkFeed, no Video Highlights, no HTC Share, Living Gallery, no SenseTV, etc. The IR blaster hardware is there, but whether or not developers will be able to tap into it is an unknown right now. If having the latest version of Android is paramount to your very existence, well, you have your answer (and it doesn’t involve buying a plastic phone).
Further to this they advise that Google is ‘literally buying the phones from HTC and selling them directly, so where and how [Google] sell the phone is entirely up to them’ and they are actively encouraging people from outside the US to tweet the @googlePlay Twitter account to advise them that you would like to be able to purchase them in other countries. Presumably this would also work with contacting them via their Google+ page.
Samsung has been pretty quiet on the whole deal, but with HTC advising that Google will be updating the phones directly it is presumed that Samsung will be doing the same, but we will be attempting to clarify with Samsung and Google themselves.
For a closer look, Engadget has done a hands-on video of both ‘Google Edition’ devices :
It would be great to see these devices here in Australia but at this stage owners of the Galaxy S4 and HTC One will all be waiting for the ‘Google Edition’ ROMs to be posted on XDA or RootzWiki for downloading and flashing to their phones.
What are your thoughts on the HTC One and Galaxy S4 ‘Google Editions’?