Google and HTC made a lot of dreams come true this morning when Android head Sundar Pichai announced a version of the HTC One with stock Android at the D11 conference. Google's Hugo Barra happened to have a stock One in his pocket, and he gave me a quick look. Just as with the stock Samsung GS4, it's exactly what you'd expect: both the hardware and software are familiar, but it's great to see them paired with support from Google and HTC. You'll still have to deal with HTC's weirdo button layout, though: the home button is on the right, not the middle, and it's a long press for Google Now and a double-tap for recent apps.
Beats won't put an icon in the menu bar
Of course, the big question with running stock on the One is how HTC's unique hardware features will work without its software, and it sounds like there's good news: Barra told me Beats Audio will still work — the hardware optimization is active all the time, but it won't put an icon in the menu bar. HTC's UltraPixel camera module is still present, but it's being made to work with the stock Android camera app — Barra said it'll just "do what it does," adding that more details would be forthcoming as Google and HTC work on the software. There's never been a stock Android device with a great camera, and it'll be interesting to see how the proven cameras in the GS4 and One perform without custom software.
We'll find out a lot more when the One with stock goes on sale in the Play Store — June 26th can't come fast enough.