Business Mobility

HTC One smartphone may be Verizon-bound, unlocked version coming

HTC could be looking to divert attention from the launch of Samsung's Galaxy S IV tomorrow with a rumored Verizon version on the way and an unlocked version coming for developers.

Citing “a source familiar with the situation,” All Things D reports that the HTC One will launch on Verizon a month or two after it lands on AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. The report suggests that Verizon's version won't be a variant, but rather the same hardware found on other carriers.

HTC hadn't announced a Verizon version when it revealed the high-end smartphone last month. It's unclear what's changed since then, but the fact that the One will appear on all four wireless carriers definitely helps HTC's chances as it tries to stop bleeding revenue.

Developer edition

Coinciding with the Verizon rumor, HTC announced that it will sell a One Developer Edition with an unlocked SIM card slot and bootloader. That means hackers will have an easier time installing alternative versions of Android and using the phone on different carriers. The phone will be available in “limited quantities” to customers with a U.S. zip code for $649.

Keep in mind, though, that the HTC One Developer Edition will only support LTE on AT&T's network, and while the phone will work on T-Mobile, service will be limited to 2G in cities where T-Mobile hasn't utilized 1900 MHz spectrum. (So far, 46 metro areas support 1900 MHz spectrum on T-Mobile's network, covering 126 million people.)

The bad news is that HTC may have trouble meeting demand for the One when it does launch. The company originally planned to launch the One in March, but now says it will merely “start fulfilling pre-orders” by the end of the month, and will roll out to other markets “as we approach April.” U.S. carriers have not announced firm release dates for the phone.

Samsung, meanwhile, is set to launch the Galaxy S IV Thursday, and could have the handset available in April, making for some tough competition between the two high-end handsets.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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