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HTC First Runs Stock Jelly Bean, Facebook Home is Just a Launcher and Can be Disabled

April 5, 2013 - Written By Briley Kenney

One of the biggest problems with Android is that carriers and manufacturers rarely provide a stock version of the OS. Instead, manufacturers polish the interface in their own way with launchers like MotoBlur, the Sense UI and even TouchWiz. Unfortunately, most of these companies lock down the device so that it’s more difficult to remove their extremely branded skins.

As it turns out, Facebook Home is exactly the same as the other launchers or skins out there. The only stark difference is that it’s entirely optional. Yep, you heard correctly. If you decide to drop $99 for the HTC First when it’s available, you’ll have the option to choose stock Android, or stick with the Facebook Home launcher. Better yet, the change can be made easily and quickly via the standard settings menu. It’s not a proprietary skin that you’re stuck with like HTC’s Sense UI. In fact, the HTC First will be devoid of Sense entirely it seems.

Forget for a moment the fact that this is an HTC device because it doesn’t matter in this case. If you love HTC’s devices but hate the Sense UI, then this will surely excite you! Especially considering HTC is remarkably good with the hardware and build quality of their handsets.

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So what does this all mean? It means that the HTC First is actually a pretty good option for anyone who wants to experience some stock Android love. The phone is relatively inexpensive yet includes some pretty impressive specs for a budget device, like the Qualcomm 400 series dual-core processor, 720p HD display and LTE support.

Provided, you may not receive future updates as quickly as a Nexus device, but at least you’ll be running stock 4.1.2 Jelly Bean if you disable the Facebook Home launcher. Knowing this information, I might actually decide to pick up the HTC First when it launches.

Just the option to run a stock Jelly Bean device with 4G LTE support is attractive enough. Don’t like Facebook Home at all? No problem! It can be disabled immediately within the phone settings just like a third party launcher from the Play store.

What do you think folks? Now that you are aware of this information is the HTC First any more appealing? I will admit that the overall design leaves a little something to be desired, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?