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.
Some lucky devices are getting their first official taste of that sweet, sweet CyanogenMod ROM action today with the addition of nightly support for the HTC One Max and the Oppo Find 7. The old Kindle Fire is also getting some love with a new platform variant for improved support going forward.
The Android L release is so new it doesn't even have a name yet, but HTC wants to make sure you know it will be ready when it comes out. Or at least, shortly thereafter. Before the Google I/O 2014 keynote had even finished, HTC released the following statement on its software update page:
HTC Customers and Enthusiasts,
HTC is excited about the new features in Android L release and we can’t wait to share them with you.
There are a few ways to get root access on HTC's new lineup of smartphones, but root only gets you so far. If you really want to hack around, you'll want an unlocked bootloader and s-off. That's what you get with the new SunShine tool from Justin Case, Beaups, and associates. This time, however, the free lunch is over.
Yesterday, we dropped a leaked image and render of Volantis, an alleged upcoming Nexus tablet built by HTC. We also dropped specification info and pricing - and that's really what this weekend's poll is about.
This new Nexus tablet isn't messing around - it will sport an NVIDIA Tegra K1 64-bit processor utilizing the company's proprietary Denver CPU core, a very powerful desktop-architecture GPU, 2GB of RAM, an 8.9" display with 2048x1440 resolution (that's 4:3 aspect ratio), aluminum construction, and will likely launch with one of the biggest Android releases (the "L" release) to date.
We don't have news about whether a Nexus phone exists, but we do have information related to HTC's Volantis (or Flounder), an 8.9" Nexus tablet. The information provided to us indicates possible specs, features, and pricing, as well as an early look at the form factor, though the images we have don't appear to be final renderings of the device.
HTC's new One M8 flagship has been out for three months. At this point in its product cycle, we wouldn't expect to see any dramatic discounts, except perhaps for on-contract phones. But one eBay vendor is bucking the trend, selling a new, factory-unlocked M8 for $549.99, a full $150 off the list price from HTC's own website. You can grab the phone and get free shipping to the United States, and unlike many eBay deals, the seller is shipping to a variety of countries around the world.