The HTC One Google Edition is quickly becoming the hottest rumour about town. Following the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition at Google I/O, attention quickly turned to HTC's flagship handset.
The HTC One is the handset of the moment, widely lauded for its design and the overall experience it offers, we rate it as the top smartphone of 2013 so far. It's not surprising, therefore, that questions have been raised.
In a slightly odd move, TechnoBuffalo reported that an email statement from HTC flatly denied the rumour: "HTC is not currently planning a 'Nexus Edition' of the HTC One," the website reports.
That's interesting in itself, as when we approached HTC for comment we received that standard response that HTC issues to all rumours, which is "We do not comment on rumour or speculation".
Circumstantial evidence perhaps. You could go as far as saying that using the term "Nexus Edition" rather than "Google Edition" means there's room for some doubt here, but we won't go that far, and we'll take it as a flat statement of denial.
However, the serial HTC leakster on Twitter, @LlabTooFer seems to be liberally fanning the flames, with an assertion that it's a "fact".
@bogdan247 As a fact...— LlabTooFeR (@LlabTooFeR) May 18, 2013
Read into this what you will, @LlabTooFer has a pretty good track record when it comes to spilling the beans over HTC's software plans. Don't take it as a dead cert, but it's a pretty strong statement to make regardless.
While many may be attracted to the idea of a "Senseless" HTC One, does that make sense for HTC? HTC's origin was that of OEM manufacturer and it was only really with the launch of the HTC Hero and HTC Sense in 2009 that the company asserted itself in its own right. But it has manufactured plenty of devices free of Sense before and after that launch.
The Sense experience is very much part of the HTC's Android DNA. Abandoning HTC Sense would be a little like admitting that the user experience you'd poured your heart and soul into wasn't up to scratch. At a time when HTC is gathering everything behind the HTC One as it is, would that send the right message?
With rival Samsung offering the Samsung Galaxy S4 without TouchWiz - which we know will sell well in its original form - the ball is in HTC's court. Offering the HTC One with stock Android, at a cheaper price than the SGS4 GE, would seem like a viable option. But it has to be said, with a Nexus device and the HTC One sitting on this desk, we're reaching for the One each time.
We'd love to see the HTC One Google Edition, and we know that would scratch the itch of Android purists, but we still feel that the HTC One with Sense 5 is a great Android device. Denial or no denial, we can't help feeling that this will be a rumour that won't die because people don't want it to.
READ: HTC One review