HTC One (M8) Google Play Edition goes on sale

HTC's new flagship gets a stock Android variant – but only if you're in the US
HTC One (M8) Google Play edition

HTC One (M8) Google Play edition

The new HTC One (M8) hits store shelves today – astonishingly soon after its launch.

That's good news, since the new HTC flagship has rocketed to the number one spot in our Top Ten Smartphones list – thanks in part to the gorgeous Sense 6 UI.

If you prefer your smartphones without all the manufacturer-added bells and whistles, though, HTC has you covered; a Google Play edition of the phone is now available for pre-order on the US Google Play store.

The HTC One (M8) Google Play edition features exactly the same hardware as the standard phone – a quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 5in 1080p screen, 4MP Ultrapixel Duo camera and Boomsound speakers – but runs stock Android 4.4.2 KitKat.

HTC One (M8) Google Play edition

HTC One (M8) Google Play edition

Google Play edition phones are generally aimed at developers, and you can expect quicker updates to new versions of Android – though Google's own Nexus devices still get first dibs.

The trade-off for faster updates is the possibility that some of the phone's hardware features might not be supported by stock Android; for example, the previous-generation HTC One Google Play edition didn't play nice with the phone's IR blaster. However, the Google Play edtion M8’s unique depth-sensing Duo camera will work, thanks to HTC tweaking the stock Android code. If you’re an absolute Android purist, the notion may give you kittens – but then, you can always buy a Nexus phone.

The HTC One (M8) Google Play edition is available SIM-free for US$700, with delivery in 2-3 weeks. As yet, there's no word yet on whether it'll appear in the UK – previous Google Play edition phones haven't made it to British shores, though, so it's unlikely.

[Source: CNET and TechRadar]

READ MORE: The HTC One (M8) reviewed – this is the new best smartphone in the world