You know, in a strange, backwards way, I am lucky to live in the United Kingdom, where Google hasn't released the Google Play Editions of a number of different handsets over the last eighteen months. This means that I didn't have a choice between the Google Play Edition version of the HTC One M7 or the Sense-equipped version. Likewise, I didn't have a choice between the Sense HTC One M8 and the Google Play Edition. I had to go with the Sense version and if I wanted the Google Play Edition experience, I would need to roll my sleeves up, potentially invalidate my warranty and install the stock firmware. The advantages of the Google Play Edition experience is that you get pure, unmolested Android. You have the stock launcher, stock applications, indeed it's almost like having a Nexus product but with many of the benefits of the HTC handset. Both of these handsets are very capable of running Lollipop well. The HTC One M7 is based around a 1080p resolution, 4.7-inch display, a 1.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor with 2 GB of memory, 16 GB or 32 GB of on-board storage, HTC BoomSound and the usual refinements in terms of radio technologies. The One M8 uses a quad-core 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, a 1080p resolution 5.0-inch screen, 2 GB of memory, the same 16 GB or 32 GB internal memory plus a MicroSD slot. The One M8 has a slightly different design, a depth-sensing rear lens, enhanced BoomSound and noticeably improved battery life.
Ignoring the different memory models, both models running the HTC Sense overlay and the Google Play Edition models are running Android 4.4 KitKat. One of the reasons why customers might prefer the Google Play Edition version of the HTC One is because it'll be at the front of the queue when software updates are handed out and so Google Play Edition owners would be, by now, expecting to receive Android 5.0 Lollipop on their devices. Going back to the middle of November, HTC's Vice President of Product Management Mo Versi, promised that Android Lollipop would be out by the end of the month. November has now been and gone and our Google Play Edition HTC One devices are still running Android KitKat. What's going on? Mo Versi has Tweeted that, unfortunately, because Google's engineers are very busy, they have not approved HTC's firmware. It means that owners will have to wait a little longer before receiving 5.0 on their devices.
This is frustrating because earlier in November, Mo explained that Google had rejected HTC's first release of Android 5.0 Lollipop for the One devices. Essentially, Google sent HTC packing to correct whatever Google didn't like about the builds. It appears that HTC have resubmitted these builds and are awaiting Google to finalize the testing process. Not great if you are impatiently waiting for Android 5.0 Lollipop, but an element of patience is definitely required here. I would rather Google and HTC get the update working properly before it's released into the wild, whatever the original reason for rejection was, I'm glad it was spotted before the release.