I want HTC's One, but Google I/O 2013 has me worried

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| April 10, 2013

Next week, the HTC One finally makes its U.S.-based debut. This particular handset has been the sole focus of all sorts of praise, from pretty much every single person I’ve seen out there who has had any significant amount of time with the device. Sure, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, but the overall impression I’m getting about HTC’s flagship device this year is that they truly, without a doubt, hit the nail right on the head. This is not only the HTC device we’ve been waiting for, but the Android device we’ve all been waiting for.

When I was writing my piece about not upgrading to the iPhone if its only main improvement is its camera, I mentioned that I’ve never picked up an iPhone at launch. Never even considered it, actually. Moreover, as I gave it some more thought, I’ve never actually been excited about an impending iPhone’s release into the market. Never looked forward to the date.

And yet, it’s the phone I keep the longest when I do have it.

I think that could change with the HTC One. And, to be perfectly honest, this is one of the only times that I can remember I’ve been excited for a date. I may or may not have the date circled on a calendar somewhere, and as the date inexorably moves closer my anticipation only grows. This is a device that I can’t wait to unwrap, turn on, and use. That display. The industrial design. I’m even excited to give the camera a shot. (No pun intended.)

But, I have to wait. And waiting just means thinking, and analyzing, and looking at every single angle that comes with purchasing a new device. As aforementioned it isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, and there is one thing that has me a little worried about buying the One right now. Or, in a week. And that’s Google’s main event of the year: I/O. The event, which is scheduled for the mid-section of May, is right around the corner, and kicks off less than a month after the release of HTC’s One on AT&T’s network.

As you can probably guess, I’m worried about the proximity of both these events, the release of the One and the conference, because this is where Google traditionally unveils a new version of Android. It’s expected to be Android Key Lime Pie. As far as features go, it’s anyone’s guess, but the general belief is that there’s going to be plenty of new things to get excited about. This is a major bump in version number, supposedly.

It’s true that I don’t see a problem with being one version behind. After all, it’s just the way things are these days. Unless you’re Samsung apparently, it’s rare that your phone launches with the newest version of Android, and as long as your phone can do cool things out of the box, that shouldn’t be a problem.

However, if Google does intend on releasing a new version of Android at I/O this year, it means that the HTC One will be two versions behind. Unless the manufacturer can somehow manage to get Android 4.2 Jelly Bean released to the One immediately following its release, that is. But I don’t see that happening.

So, what does it matter that I’d potentially be two versions behind? Well, for one, it’s only going to be a month later after I buy the One. That means I’ll have bought it, and it will still be in the realm of that whole “buyer’s remorse” syndrome, because I’ll know what Google is shoving into Key Lime Pie. What’s my phone got? Less than Key Lime Pie.

Actually, that’s not really it. What is bothering me the most, in this speculation about the future, is that HTC won’t be able to get me Key Lime Pie on the One, before they release a successor to their flagship device. And if, in true follow-up fashion, it’s even more desirable than the original One, I’ll want to buy that one, too. But, it probably won’t be running Android Key Lime Pie, either. When manufacturers are forced to stack potential software updates, there’s just a point where you have to come to the realization that one of those updates may just not happen.

Then you cross your fingers and hope that it’s not the newest upgrade that a gets skipped in favor of older software.

I’m honestly excited about the One. I still intend on getting it, and (hopefully) loving every minute of owning HTC’s newest flagship device. But I do have this sinking feeling that Google I/O will make me regret the purchase, at least a little bit.

How do you feel about buying a new Android handset so close to Google’s rumored introduction of a new software version? Even Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 will suffer this fate, if speculated release dates fall into place. Are you willing to take the leap, in hopes that your device will get the update? Or will you wait to see which new devices launch with the new software? Let me know.

Products mentioned