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.
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:
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.