Today, Sprint became the second U.S. carrier to start taking pre-orders for the HTC One, joining fellow carrier AT&T which started taking pre-orders for the highly anticipated device yesterday. T-Mobile will be announcing its plans soon. However, despite confirmations from all three of those carriers, we still have some question remaining about the HTC One, particularly, with the rumored Verizon HTC One.
In February, HTC announced the HTC One and quickly confirmed that it would be coming to a host of mobile operators including AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. Missing from the launch was the nation’s largest 4G LTE carrier, Verizon Wireless, which has signed on to carry the Samsung Galaxy S4. Verizon is an optimal destination not only for new customers looking for a massive 4G LTE network but also to current Verizon users who are grandfathered into an unlimited plan and want to pair it with the best smartphone possible.
Despite the lack of a Verizon HTC One announcement, the device hasn’t gone away quietly. Prior to the HTC One release, there had been rumors of a Verizon HTC One and after the launch of the HTC One back in February, those rumors have persisted.
Since February, we’ve seen HTC deny a Verizon HTC One, only to pull the offending tweet and start offering a more generic answer. We have seen rumored Verizon HTC One features leak to the surface. We saw AllThingsD confirm that a HTC One would be heading to Verizon, though it did not elaborate on much else. And we’ve also seen some odd goings on over at Verizon where the HTC One’s presumed predecessor, the Droid DNA, received a new SKU number after mysteriously vanishing from the website.
Certainly, there are quite a few questions, mysteries, swirling around about the Verizon HTC One and here, we take a look at what we feel are the six biggest.
Verizon HTC One Release Date
Obviously, one of the biggest questions that remains about the Verizon HTC One is its release date. Because Verizon hasn’t announced anything yet, we still have no idea when an HTC One or an HTC One-like device might be heading to Verizon’s 4G LTE network.
So far, we’ve heard two stories in regards to the timing of the Verizon HTC One release date. The first, which emerged at the beginning of March, was that it would be out in three to four months. If that timing is anywhere close to accurate, it means that the device would be out sometime in June or July.
The other is that the device would be arriving about a month or two after the other carriers – AT&T, Sprint and Verizon – got the device. At the time, it seemed like that could mean April or May. It still could.
The interesting thing here is that both rumored Verizon HTC One release dates came prior to the delay of the HTC One which drove U.S. release dates back into late April. So it’s unclear if Verizon’s timing was delayed because of this or if it was unaffected.
Another curious thing we’ve heard is that HTC is planning to introduce a new HTC Butterfly soon. The HTC Butterfly is Verizon’s Droid DNA, the device that Verizon’s HTC One is said to be replacing.
However, that just adds to the mystery.
The HTC Butterfly and the Droid DNA both sport 5-inch displays. In fact, the Droid DNA was the first smartphone in the U.S. to arrive with a 1080p display back in November. The timing has been mentioned as a possible reason why Verizon passed on the HTC One, at least for now. It didn’t want them so close to each other, likely because it didn’t want Droid DNA owners to feel cheated.
So, like many, we have assumed that this new HTC Butterfly 2 could be the Droid DNA 2 aka Verizon’s HTC One. However, this theory has been thrown under the bus by a noted HTC insider who has leaked out supposed Verizon HTC One information in the past.
@faptized Should be 4.7
— LlabTooFeR (@LlabTooFeR) April 4, 2013
In response to a question about speculation regarding the possibility of a 5-inch Verizon HTC One display, @LlabTooFeR says that he believes the Verizon HTC One will have a 4.7-inch display.
Leaked specifications have suggested the same thing. So, the question remains: Is the Verizon HTC One coming with a 4.7-inch display like the current HTC One or will it be based on a 5-inch HTC Butterfly 2? It’s unclear.
And that leads us to the three mystery, the Verizon HTC One design. The only thing that we’ve heard about the design is that it will have Verizon branding. Other than that, there is nothing.
What it will come down to is whether or not the HTC One for Verizon is the Butterfly 2 or the actual HTC One. If it’s the Butterfly 2, expect a different design. We saw the Droid DNA/HTC Butterfly arrive with a plastic design rather than the full metal ZeroGap design that the HTC One has so it could be that the Verizon HTC One has something different. We also saw an HTC One variant in China, or what appeared to be one, emerge with a microSD card slot and a removable back.
So, unfortunately, there are a lot of possible clues, just no concrete answers.
At the HTC launch event, the company did not mention that the HTC One would be getting a carrier exclusive. Sadly, consumers had to find out the hard way in the form of an AT&T teaser video for the device which revealed that the 64GB HTC One would be an exclusive to AT&T’s network.
For many devices, this wouldn’t be an issue. However, for a smartphone like the HTC One that doesn’t have a microSD card slot, it is an issue as it means that Sprint and T-Mobile customers will only have access to 32GB of on board storage and the cloud.
So what does this mean for the Verizon HTC One? Well, it could mean a couple of things. It could mean that Verizon will only offer the 32GB model, plain and simple.
But what if Verizon releases its HTC One under a different brand name? Say, the Droid DNA 2? Perhaps that would allow it to offer both a 32GB and a 64GB model. It’s unclear at this point.
HTC’s One doesn’t built-in wireless charging and it doesn’t feature a removable back which means that owners won’t be able to charge their device without wires. Oddly enough, HTC’s Droid DNA does have wireless charging on board, built-in wireless charging in fact. That is an extremely rare quality for a smartphone.
So again, if the HTC One for Verizon is actually the HTC Butterfly 2, could it mean that the Verizon model will have wireless charging on board? It would certainly be odd to see Verizon offer the first Droid DNA with wireless charging and then take it away with the next-gen device.
Or maybe, even if it is indeed the HTC One, could Verizon’s model have wireless charging? We know HTC is capable so it could happen.
Finally, the last question about the Verizon HTC One is what operating system it will have on board. Rumors have suggested that Verizon’s HTC One will be coming with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The other HTC One devices don’t have Android 4.2 and instead, sport Sense 5 and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Unless HTC were to update its HTC One soon, and we know that can take forever in the U.S., this would give Verizon’s model a distinct advantage over the other devices, something that would be strange to see considering Verizon wasn’t even a part of the launch event.
What’s more is that Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie is likely going to be introduced in May and there is a possibility that we could see it on board Verizon’s model if it doesn’t arrive until the summer.
At this point, Android 4.2 seems more likely, but again, we don’t know for sure.