After running through a quick unboxing of the HTC One (M8) Google Play Edition, we spent some extra time cruising around the software, seeing if Google or HTC had left any of HTC’s goodies behind in the stock build of Android 4.4.2. Actually, we really just wanted to figure out the Duo Camera and if it really worked, since Google is advertising it as working in its Google Play listing for the phone. Thankfully, it does. But there are other little leftovers as well that are worth noting. (more…)
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.
HTC not only announced the new HTC One (M8) today, but they also confirmed our previous report that a Google Play Edition will be available as well. According to HTC’s press release for the new 2014 flagship, the Google Play Edition will be available for pre-order today and then available in the “coming weeks” on Google Play.
For those new to Google Play Editions, just understand that it’s the same hardware as the regular One (M8), except it’ll run stock Android 4.4.2. So all of HTC’s custom Sense software is removed in favor of a pure Android experience. I’ll let you decide if that’s a good thing or not.
Google will sell the device for $699 (ouch).
Thanks to @evleaks and his never-ending pursuit to leak all things “All New HTC One” or HTC One (2014), we are getting our first taste of the accessory line for the “M8.” He also mentioned the possibility of a new Google Play Edition of this 2014 HTC flagship.
In two images posted to his account yesterday, we are seeing a new flip-style case that comes in four colors: black, red, green, and blue. The case stands out – or at least comes off as being unique – because of its hole-filled front sides. As you can see from the images, the holes are being used to show important information (like time and weather) with the case closed. We aren’t sure if the display will constantly show this information or if you’ll need to press the power button to see it. I’m not sure I see the point if the power button is required, though maybe this case can save battery life by only showing a minimal amount of display. It’s an interesting idea, I guess. (more…)
The Moto G just popped up on Google Play as a “Google Play Edition” with a starting price of $179 for the 8GB model. This is the unlocked GSM model (should work on both AT&T and T-Mobile), so no, you can’t buy it and try to take it to Verizon or Sprint. From reading the description, it appears to be exactly the same as the regular unlocked GSM Moto G, except that it should be running even closer to a 100% stock build of Android than the phone already was.
Again, we aren’t exactly sure what differences you’ll see from this over the regular version, but the listing does say it’ll run the most recent version of Android. Then again, Motorola has been on top of its update game lately, so that’s not even necessarily something different. But hey, if you want a phone that says “Google Play Edition” on the box, here you go. If anything, this is only helping Motorola spread the word about its ultra-affordable smartphone with a “premium” experience. (more…)
At the end of each year, it’s easy to find ourselves both looking back at all that happened over the past 12 months, trying to reflect on it, and then looking forward to what’s ahead. The “what’s ahead” is about to hit us with a right-cross in a couple of weeks when CES arrives, so I’d say that I’m still very much in the reflection stage at this point. Which brings me to this post and my thoughts on the top 5 Android phones of the year.
The year 2013 was filled with the most incredible smartphones the world has ever seen. 1080p displays became a standard (for the most part), cameras grew increasingly better, battery life is now measured in days instead of hours, customization was introduced, and prices may have started to decline across the board. Phone manufacturers also seem to have figured out winning formulas for the most part in terms of hardware, but only one still has the marketing side (or budget) on lock. All of that helped shape this list. (more…)
I don’t think anyone can deny that 2013 was the biggest year yet for Android. And I’m not talking about sales numbers, I’m talking about things like the quality of handsets that were delivered by our favorite companies. From the Galaxy S4 or Note 3 to the HTC One and G2 to the Moto X and Nexus 5, smartphone buyers had so many great choices. But if you look outside of the devices themselves, there were other stories to be told in 2013, ones that could alter the future of Android in great ways. For example, timely updates became a reality, Motorola made one heck of a return, Google Play Edition devices actually exist now, and the Chromecast is poised to take over your home media experience for just $35.
In a collaborative effort from the DL crew, we touch on a number of these storylines through our choices of Android moment of the year. (more…)