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.
The Moto X got a price drop on all American carriers late last month, bringing the on-contract price down to $100 for all American carriers (though you can find it cheaper at some retailers). It looks like Motorola is following suit with the unlockable developer versions of the phone, which are sold directly from the manufacturer and without subsidy. Previously the Developer Editions were $649.99, but you can now pick one up for $549.99.
So it looks like quite a lot of you were waiting on the Developer Editions for those new Motorola phones. Just over one day after Motorola posted the Developer Editions of the Moto X and the DROID MAXX on the company's official store, all three phones are unavailable. The Verizon Moto X Developer Edition is marked as "Out of Stock," while the GSM Moto X DE and the DROID MAXX DE are marked as "Coming Soon."
Motorola seems to have vastly underestimated the demand for these phones and their unlockable bootloaders, even at the hefty unsubsidized price of $649.99 for all three models.
If you've been eyeing up those new Motorola devices, but want a more open experience, now is your moment. Motorola has added listings for the fabled Verizon and GSM Developer Edition Moto X units and a Developer Edition DROID MAXX. All three phones clock in at $649.99.
The DROID MAXX is Verizon only, but does have an unlockable bootloader and a cool "Developer Edition" badge. The Moto X developer handsets come in either GSM or Verizon flavors, but only the Verizon version is currently in stock.
If you sprang for an HTC One Developer Edition back when the phone was launched and have been patiently waiting for your Jelly Bean 4.2.2 update, you might as well stop waiting. But that's a good thing! According to a Twitter post from HTC's Global Sales President and Head of America Jason Mackenzie, the Developer Edition will skip right over the incremental 4.2.2 update and go straight to 4.3.
@jmwein we definitely care and want you to have great experience.
A lot of you have been waiting to hear about the status of the bootloader in the Moto X - after all, if this is Motorola's new standard, how do they intend to go forward? The answer is a bit anti-climactic: according to this developer-focused page on the Motorola website, the Moto X for Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Rogers in Canada will be unlockable, along with "two models just for developers."
What are these two models?