The original Moto X was a breath of fresh air when it debuted in 2013, but Verizon didn't want any part of Motorola's relatively open stance when it came to unlockable bootloaders and customization (as usual). To alleviate this for users who wanted an easy path to root, software backups, and custom ROMs, Motorola offered the Moto X Developer Edition, a full-priced 32GB phone that users could unlock by requesting a code.
Ah, Developer Editions, what would we do without you? Probably suck it up and buy the retail versions, since anyone who's actually in the market for a Developer Edition phone on Verizon doesn't have a choice of GSM carriers with unlocked phones. If you've been drooling over the Galaxy Note 4's high-end hardware but lamenting Verizon's locked bootloader policy, Samsung is ready to sell you an unlockable phone. That will be $699.99, please.
CyanogenMod's custom ROM relationship with the original Moto X has been somewhat... tentative. First the general GSM and Verizon developer editions were given separate nightly builds, then came a unified ROM based on Motorola's Qualcomm S4-based phones, the Moto X and DROID Maxx. (Technically the DROID Mini and DROID Ultra, too, but there's no way to unlock the bootloaders on those.) Now all of the Moto X builds are being unified under a new download entry, codenamed "Ghost."
According to a CyanogenMod representative, the nightly ROMs under the "Ghost" codename should work with all of the available unlocked versions of the Moto X.
We all know the new Moto X is going to drop soon, and it's shaping up to be a fantastic phone. However, Motorola still has some last gen devices sitting around. What better way to get rid of them than to cut the price... a small price cut in this case. The Developer Edition Moto Xs for Verizon and GSM networks is now $399 instead of $449.
Root addicts and ROM flashers on Verizon, prepare to lose it. According to a short question and answer session with Motorola Mobility's VP of Product Management Punit Soni, there will be no Developer Edition of the swanky second-gen Moto X for Verizon. Google+ user Shane Barone asked Mr. Soni about the availability of a developer edition and got this apologetic reply:
Developer Editions are special carrier editions of phones sold without a contract and with an unlockable bootloader, made available for customers on carriers that permanently lock bootloaders as a matter of course.
Verizon customers who want to indulge in the more in-depth parts of Android don't often get the chance, thanks to the carrier's tendency to lock down bootloaders and close off most of the avenues to custom ROMs. But for major releases, manufacturers often sell contract-free variants with an unlockable bootloader. Like the S4 before it, the Galaxy S5 now has the option, and you can buy one directly from Samsung. Verizon won't sell it to customers online or in retail stores.
The developer and unlocked versions of the HTC One M8 are now receiving an update that enables the device's Extreme Power Saving Mode. This feature extends the phone's battery life by disabling all but the essential services, shooting users out of the standard interface into one that provides access to phone calls, text messages, email, calendar events, a calculator, and nothing else. This feature did not ship on the HTC One M8 out of the box here in the US, but updates are turning that situation around.
Want the new HTC One M8, but don't want all the carrier lockdowns, bloatware, and update delays? You're in luck. The HTC One M8 Developer Edition is now available online from the company's web store. This variant of the phone works on AT&T and T-Mobile in the US, and on GSM and HSPA+ networks worldwide. As far as the hardware and software, it's basically the same as the other versions, but you get an unlockable bootloader and a stock, unadulterated Sense experience free from carrier meddling.
If your phone was already one of the very first devices to get the latest version of Android, do you really need a custom ROM like CyanogenMod? If you're shouting "YES" at the screen right now, you'll want to know about the first nightly builds available for the Moto X. The CM team has published CM11 nightlies for the Moto X on T-Mobile (XT1053, which is also the standard unlocked GSM edition) and for Verizon (XT1060), though the later needs to be a Developer Edition.
Motorola's got a special New Year's treat for prospective buyers of the Moto X: a huge price drop for those who are willing to go off-contract. The unsubsidized version of the Moto X sold on the Moto Maker customization site is now just $399.99, down $100 from its previous price. You can pick up the larger 32GB model for $449.99. The on-contract versions remain $99.99 on the Moto Maker site, though you can probably find the more drab black or white alternatives for less.