After being officially unveiled during a special media event, the Facebook Home user interface and the HTC First handset were thoroughly analyzed by the media, but it looks like one particular feature of the handset was overlooked, the operating system underneath the new user interface.
As Phandroid found out during its hands-on time with the device, it looks like the HTC First runs a stock Android version underneath the Home user interface, which makes it the first HTC handset after the G2 to come with stock Android on board, even though it’s not comparable to the kind of stock Android you get with Nexus devices:
So, what does this mean exactly? Well, I should start out by saying that when I say “stock Android,” I’m not talking about pure AOSP with direct updates from Google. Only Nexus (and for a short time, Sony) devices get those kinda privileges. What I mean by “stock” is a version of Android that simply isn’t skinned and comes with stock Android apps like messaging, camera, gallery, stock notification bar, etc., but may or may not have some of the underlying software tweaked.
Facebook and HTC may have tweaked the OS to allow a deeper Home integration on the HTC First – the first handset in the world to have Home preloaded – but Home can be disabled on the device. In fact, Facebook answered various privacy-related questions in a blog post earlier today, making it clear to potential users that Home can be disabled at any time on the devices it is installed on.
For a pure Android experience, you can always purchase the latest Nexus model, but did the HTC First also get sort of interesting now that you hear you can run Android on it without any UIs in the way?
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If you like stock Android and think 4.7″ is too big, what else is there?
Of course, HTC’s old nemesis, carrier exclusivity, raises its head again to screw things up for a lot of potential buyers.