For those who are eagerly waiting for the next top-tier flagships by HTC, Samsung or Sony along with a pure Google experience, M8 was the last Google Play Edition (GPe) device released. Yes, you read it right!
Since then, no new GPe device has been introduced to the market, while the existing have slowly exited from the Google Play Store one by one. And today, the most recent GPe device – One M8 – also disappeared the way of the dinosaur. This indicates in just one direction: the Google Play Edition program is dead (though not officially announced).
So what gives here, is the GPe program dead? If so, why this happened? What will be its impact How this action will affect the Android app developers and enthusiasts?
Google Play Edition devices, also called Google Experience of Edition devices, refer particularly to Google-backed Android devices. These devices do not have Google Nexus branding, but they run a stock build of the Android operating system (umm..not completely, actually). The OS has been slightly modified to complement device-specific hardware features.
Kicked off back in Google I/O 2013 with the announcement of Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition device with stock Android 4.2.2., the Google Play Edition program was supposed to allow the OEMs like HTC and Samsung to peddle their unvarnished wares for all the users. The devices were equipped with numerous enticing features like getting software update directly from Google, despite the fact that the device manufacturers push the updates. In other words, the program was initiated with the idea of bypassing the carriers like Verizon and AT&T, which somehow slow down the process of unveiling updates and upgrading Android devices to the recent OS version.
Unfortunately, the program could not continue for a long. Samsung Galaxy 4, HTC One, Sony Z Ultra, Motorola Moto G, and then HTC One M8 – all the phone said goodbye to play store one by one. And the reason behind is still a mystery: Had the phone making brands abandoned the program or Google itself lost interest in it? Or was it the price equation that prevented the Edition phones from becoming the first choice of users and mobile app developers (Nexus devices with same features were available at half the price)?
For now, the only confirmed thing is that the GPe devices have gone. Perhaps, they might return one day with some other name. And hopefully, they might shine in the market and reach to users across the globe.