Android One is back. The program seemed destined for the dustbin, but the release of the exciting new Mi A1 – and rumors of a new Motorola Android One coming to the United States – suggest there’s still hope.
Mi A1 first impressions: How’s stock Android on Xiaomi hardware?
And Xiaomi and Motorola are not the only big names joining the Android One club. According to two well-known leakers, HTC might be readying an Android One device of its own.
LlabTooFeR, a custom ROM developer that occasionally leaks HTC news, revealed that the HTC “Ocean Life” will have an Android One version. The device will run stock Android with a handful of HTC customizations, including Edge Sense, Zoe and the HTC Camera app.
HTC Ocean_Life will be released under Android One program. It will lose most of the HTC apps and run stock Android O with Sense 9.0_A1.
— LlabTooFeR (@LlabTooFeR) September 13, 2017
Evan Blass chimed in to confirm the information and shared a picture (ab0ve) of the Ocean Life running HTC’s Sense interface.
As we revealed exclusively in August, Ocean Life is the codename of HTC U11 Life. The phone will launch in the United States with T-Mobile, featuring a 5.2-inch Full HD display, 16MP cameras on the front and rear, Snapdragon 630, water resistance, and HTC’s Edge Sense squeeze gestures.
It looks like HTC’s first Android One phone will be a rebranded U11 Life, similar to the way Xiaomi rebranded the Mi 5X to create the Mi A1. Motorola is expected to take the same route, by rebranding the Moto X4.
HTC and Motorola have been rumored to release Android One devices in the past. And, according to a report from January, LG is another Google partner that has shown interest in developing an Android One device.
Xiaomi Mi 5X owners: you can (unofficially) turn your phone into an Android One device
We don’t know for now if HTC will release its U 11 Life-based Android One in the United States, but we wouldn’t be surprised if that happened. Given that T-Mobile will carry the Sense U11 Life, at least some of the technical legwork for the Android One version will be done anyway.
Another unknown is the price, but the HTC Android One could be priced competitively with the similarly-speced Moto X4 Android One, which will be around $400.
For its part, Google will probably use its mighty marketing budget to promote this new crop of Android One phones in the US. The focus will be on security, simplicity, and fast updates – exactly what the budget and mid-range segments need the most right now.