Google Play Edition phones and tablets started dropping like flies last year, and now we've reached the eventual conclusion. The HTC One M8 GPE is no longer for sale in the Play Store, and it was the last. If you want a new device with stock Android, it's going to be a Nexus.
Over the course of 2014, we watched as the majority of the Google Play Edition devices disappeared from the Play Store. Former options such as the HTC One M7, Xperia Z Ultra, the Moto G, and the LG G Pad 8.3 (forever known in our hearts as the LGGP83GPE) have all vanished. Now the Galaxy S4, after being out of stock for a long time, has gone away as well.
Another one bites the dust. The Moto G Google Play Edition is no longer available in the Play Store. You've been able to pick up the low-cost device with immediate shipping since its debut almost a year ago. Now it's "no longer available for sale."
If you're the owner of a Moto G GPE, your Lollipop update is here. Google and Motorola have begun rolling out the latest version of Android to the budget GPE device, but if you don't have it yet, we've got the direct download link for you at the bottom of this post.
Oddly, even though this new firmware is Android 5.0.1, the build is LRX21Z, which would appear to be older than LRX22C, which is the 5.0.1 build heading out to Nexus and other GPE devices.
On the heels of their release of the Android 5.0.1 Lollipop OTA update to the HTC One M7 and M8 Google Play Editions, HTC has quickly made the kernel source for both devices available at the HTCdev website. Most users don't need to worry about this either way, but developers and fans of custom ROMs should be happy to see these available so soon.
While HTC is required to release the kernel source since it has adapted from the open source Android code, this is kind of like returning a library book a few days early; it's just nicer to do it sooner rather than later.
Lollipop is slowly, slowly making its way to all of the Nexus and Google Play Edition devices available (yes, N7 LTE owners, we hear you). If you purchased the "pure," AOSP-packing version of either the HTC One M7 from 2013 or the flagship One M8 earlier this year, you should be getting an over-the-air update to Android 5.0 soon. We're seeing tips from owners of both Google Play Edition phones.
Screenshot provided by Kyle Smith
And surprisingly, it looks like both phones are in fact getting Android 5.0.1, the ever-so-slightly newer edition of Lollipop that should fix some of the initial problems discovered after large-scale software releases.
The one Nexus-style smartphone that's even bigger than the N6 is getting its Android 5.0 update today. At least a few owners of Sony's Z Ultra (nee Xperia) Google Play Edition are getting over-the-air updates to Lollipop, as evidenced by this XDA thread. Conveniently, one of those fine folks has found the link to OTA ZIP file, so you can download and flash it manually to your own phone if you don't want to wait for the rollout.
There were rumors earlier this year of a Google Play Edition of the Samsung Galaxy S5, but nothing happened at Google I/O, and there's been hardly a peep since. SamMobile noticed something interesting in an image on the Android site, though. There's a Galaxy S5 running stock Android 5.0 in one of the images. How very suspicious.
Recently there's been a rumor that Sony is planning on releasing stock AOSP ROMs (clean, Nexus-style builds of Android) for some of its high-end phones and tablets. It's easy to understand why Sony in particular might attract that kind of attention: the company has better support for aftermarket development than most, promptly releasing binaries and source code on the company's own GitHub and even some developer-grade AOSP builds. But as for consumer-ready, finished and fully supported AOSP ROMs?