Gigantic Verizon logo on the back? Check. Completely unnecessary Verizon logo on the front? Double check. That's the HTC One Remix, which is essentially the One Mini 2, if Verizon followed any sort of rational naming convention. It's official now (for real this time), and it's coming July 24th for $99.99 with a new contract.
Apparently, segmenting your customized software into easily-updatable Play Store apps is a popular trend. HTC is the latest to get on board, presumably because the person who makes the keyboard work is tired of waiting on the whole Sense team to put an over-the-air firmware update together. HTC published extra language packs back in April, and now Sense users can get timely updates for the keyboard as well.
You know the drill: this will only work on compatible HTC hardware, so don't even try it on other phones or tablets.
If you've got an unlocked/international version of HTC's One M8, you might be wondering when your next Android update is coming. According to HTC Vice President of Management Mo Versi, the answer is "late next week." The company is planning an update to Android 4.4.3.
— Mo (@moversi) July 19, 2014
So why not bump it up to the latest release, 4.4.4?
American readers might not know this, but HTC just loves the Desire brand name. It's been around since 2010, when the original launched as a slightly modified version of the Nexus One. Since then it's gone through many permutations, like the keyboard-equipped Desire Z (the G2 in the US) and got at One X-style makeover with the Desire X. The 601 brought the family up to the HTC One M7's industrial design, meaning the name has survived two of HTC's complete hardware overhauls.
Google officially pulled the HTC One M7, Galaxy S4, Xperia Z Ultra, and LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition devices from the Play Store not too long ago. Since then we've seen a couple of them pop up on sale across various distributors. When an eBay seller offered the Galaxy S4 for $499 ($150 off) last month, we considered that a deal. Before that, Expansys USA offered the Z Ultra for the low price of $349, $100 less than what Google last asked for it.
Dedicated Android fans will probably be a little disappointed that the latest update to HTC's One M8 flagship on Sprint doesn't include the bleeding edge 4.4.4. But it's pretty close, 4.4.3, and Sprint has thrown in a couple of notable expansions specifically for its network. In addition to the small back-end improvements in 4.4.3, the 2.16.651.4 release adds the Wi-Fi Calling feature that Sprint has been slowly rolling out for the last few months.
The art of needlessly re-naming manufacturer's phones for American carriers seems to have gone out of vogue in the last year or two - no more Droid Xyboards, no more Sprint Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch. But in the case of the HTC One Mini 2, I think the original name was bad enough that we can forgive Verizon for wanting a rebrand. The HTC One Remix, which is almost certainly Verizon's rebranded version of the One Mini 2, was featured in a Verizon promotional video this morning.
Last month, we reported that the Xperia Z Ultra, LG G Pad 8.3, HTC One M7, and Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition devices were all appearing as out of stock on the Play Store for several weeks. Today, Google officially removed the Z Ultra, G Pad, and M7 from the Play Store, and they no longer appear under the Google Play Edition devices section.
The remaining three phones are the One M8, Moto G, and Galaxy S4.
HTC has had a rough time in recent years as Samsung has risen to dominance in the Android device market. The resulting slump culminated in a year of losses for the Taiwanese OEM, but today's Q2 2014 numbers signal a potential turnaround. HTC had a small profit of NT$2.26 billion ($75 million) over the last three months.