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HTC One (M8) Google Play Edition Unboxing and Quick Look

Last year, during Google I/O, Hugo Barra stood on stage to announce Google’s new Google Play Edition program of Android devices that would offer stock software experiences, with timely updates, on the same hardware sold through carriers with manufacturer skins. Samsung and HTC wound up having the first two entries, since their flagships at the time – the Galaxy S4 and HTC One (M7) – were still fairly new. Both were received with praise, even though they each carried premium prices.

Since HTC decided this year to make their new flagship, the HTC One (M8), available in as many different ways as possible, we once again have a Google Play Edition to check out. 

Similar to last year, the GPE HTC One (M8) is indeed the exact same hardware as the version sold through carriers, but it has given up HTC’s Sense 6.0 for stock Android 4.4.2. That means no BlinkFeed, no Sense software customizations (except for a couple), and no HTC camera software. HTC told the press on launch day that the Duo camera would work, though we’re still trying to figure out exactly how that’s possible. So far, in our time with the device, we’re seeing the stock Android camera app and nothing else. (Edit:  We found the HTC photo editor, but it’s not exactly making itself easy to find or obvious. More coming in a follow-up video.)

If you were looking for some good news or carry over from Sense, both BoomSound and HTC’s Motion Launch gestures made it into the Google Play Edition. We’ll have more on those in a bit, but that’s all we’re seeing so far that has stuck around on the stock software.

As we find out more, well be sure to pass the info along, including some thoughts on the camera in the GPE vs. the regular HTC One (M8).

Update:  Here is a software tour of the device, showing Duo Camera in action, BoomSound, Motion Launch Gestures, and HTC apps like their TV service.

In the mean time, be sure to check out the video unboxing and tour below.

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  • Epic Tea

    There is actually a Sense 6 Rom for the Nexus 5. It would be cool if you could flash any OEM’s skin on any device giving people even more choices.

  • Tyler

    I’m in the same boat right now, ive been meaning to cut mine for a few days now.

  • ajftl250

    Lol it’s cool but the nails were soooooo distracting me I couldn’t concentrate lmao

  • shooter50

    Does this version work with Tmo LTE?

  • rawson815

    How about a go at a Verizon sim kell??? Just to see what happens

  • trophynuts

    am I the only one that thinks Kellen is channeling his inner Josh Topolsky in these videos he’s done lately? You sound just like him in the videos and your videos are even showing some “verge”-ish flare to them.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    soooo…..on my macbook using chrome it’s showing me a loading error with vimeo, but on my phone the video is fine but playing from youtube. This happened with the last video you posted about AcDisplay too. DAE have this problem?

    side note: recently learned DAE is not referring to me but stands for “does anyone else”.

    omg Kellen you had a little Verge in you for the first 5 seconds.

  • Milton

    Same lag, different launcher

  • Chileball

    You could talked louder!

  • Guest

    Lowest sound ever

    • Sorry about, didn’t realize it was so quiet.

  • Kevin Gallagher

    Does this fully support T-Mobile?

    • Tony Byatt

      Yes, according to the device page on Google Play…

  • Chris

    So uit has some HTC things in it….. this wont make GPE fans happy…

    • JMonkeYJ

      Most (all?) of the GPE editions have had manufacturer features. It’s actually pretty great.

  • flosserelli

    The Verizon display M8 took photos almost as fast as I could tap the shutter icon. Definitely not the case for the GPE.

    • Eric R.

      And you don’t get the use of the dual cameras and the new Sense is actually nice.

      • Steve B

        It does use the dual cameras. HTC included it. Once you take the pic, you can choose to edit it with HTC’s software.

    • This thing is definitely slow. Sense version, instant.

      • chris125

        Isn’t that ironic. Stock android is “slow” compared to it’s skinned counter part in that regards.

  • I think it’s hysterical how the dock icons on the boxes are EXACTLY backwards of each other.

    • Chris Hannan

      I did notice the icon arrangement on the box seemed weird, with the phone icon on the right. Didn’t pay any attention to them after that point.

  • chris125

    Why do the stock icons look so large compared to the sense icons? Seems like wasted space having the icons so large.

    • That’s the GNL for ya

      • chris125

        I forgot about that until you said something and remembered it changed them on my nexus 7 as well.

    • LionStone

      They do take up space, they’re huge. It’s the reason I’m using Nova on my N5 and N7. I tried to go stock for a few weeks but that was it.

  • ajftl250

    Seriously. Cut your dirty nails.

    • TechWings

      LOL…I love Droid Life and Kellen, but I was thinking “Damn, he breathes like a fat person.”

      • Rude. 😛 Battling a damn cold heh.

        • TechWings

          Feel better, bro. In the meantime, get some snacks. 😉

  • TechWings

    I wonder if the Dot View Case will work since Motion Gestures are included.

    • Steve B

      It does. Android Central already did a video for this.

  • The duo settings aren’t available until you edit the photo afterwards… no?

  • BAM1789

    You should totally system dump that for the nice people on XDA;) My Unlocked ATT M8 will love you forever.

  • Jeff Miller

    Damn wish I could get this on VZW

  • Jonathan Figueroa

    Can you take a photo if you cover the second camera sensor?

    • Chris Hannan

      He covered that in the video. Yes.

  • That is sexy – I just wish it wasn’t so expensive. Would be nice if this “Android Silver” program comes to fruition and lets people buy these devices subsidized.

    • Chris

      actions speak louder then words…

  • chris125

    So you lose all the actual useful additions and get stuck with a low end camera for stock android. Stock is so “meh” and other than quick updates, thats about the only thing going for it. With more apps being put in the play store as well as updated there. those fast updates are not worth what else is lost in the process as it stands now.

    • The Narrator

      Yep, GPE isn’t worth it most of the time. Losing many features, and making a bad camera worse, i don’t see the appeal

      • michael arazan

        Too bad you can’t just pull HTC’s camera software from sense and install it on a GPE device

    • Chris

      HTC already promised 2 years worth of updates….. and they already have been getting better at updates recently…

      • chris125

        Exactly. So not sure what all the hype with “stock” is when stock is lacking in many areas that these skins actually bring useful additions to.

        • MicroNix

          I can’t believe I’m seeing this conversation on Droid Life.

          • chris125

            I was only a huge fan of stock back in the pre jb days when android and their skins really sucked, stock made it suck a little less. Now I actually like the additions (not all) that the skins bring, that stock is lacking.

          • PoisonApple31

            I became a huge fan of stock with the Galaxy Nexus until I realized how many apps I was running just to get features that come included in all the skins. I enjoy the stock look, that’s about it.

          • Jon Oliver

            I can’t either this is disgusting

          • Epic Tea

            i don’t either ive used all the flagships from 2013 and I honestly don’t miss any of their features now that I have the Nexus 5 the only thing I miss is better battery and camera but that has to do more with hardware than software.

    • Chris Hannan

      GPe is better for Samsung devices.

    • Epic Tea

      you miss the point of stock, its smooth, fast, snappy and overall a more simple reliable experience. Can’t say the same for any device Ive used, and Ive used every major flagship from 2013 form the moto x to the Note 3, currently have the N5 and nothing beats its performance and fluidity.

  • Carlos Lopez

    free giveaway?

    • TechWings

      A giveaway by definition is free. So, “freeway giveaway” is a bit redundant.

      • Chris Hannan

        Freeway 😛

        • TechWings

          Yeah, that’s what I get for being a smart ass. I would edit, but WTF for?

          • FourString

            congested Los Angeles really ought to hold some freeway giveaways >.<

  • Gato Mafioso

    That silver is hot