I may not have necessarily forgotten about Google Play edition devices, but I will admit that I rarely thought about them. Or think about them, I guess I should say. It’s not a segment that has been completely removed from the Google Play store just yet, even as devices continue to get excised from the listing. However, I can’t help but wonder if the experiment has come to an end.
That’s how I’ve always seen the Google Play edition devices, as an experiment that Google managed to convince manufacturers to jump into. Because let’s face it, they’ve all heard the same rhetoric as the rest of us, regarding custom software from manufacturers and the stock software from Google. Which one’s better? Which one’s worse? The arguments were as frustrating as they were entertaining.
The Google Play edition handsets emerged as a way, in my opinion, to settle that debate.
They did that not only with the software being stock, and comparing it to the proprietary software that came along with the other variants, but also with the pricing. It’s never been just about the software that you get on the phone, or whether or not you get updates faster. And it’s never been just about the pricing, either. It’s been about all of it, rolled into the final package that the customer has to decide on.
Stock Android has its place in the market, and a lot of people prefer that type of experience over any other kind. And there’s nothing wrong with that, just like there’s nothing wrong with someone that prefers HTC’s Sense UI or even Samsung’s TouchWiz. We all have different preferences, and it’s good when manufacturers and other companies realize that and release devices for all of us, and not just some of us.
The Google Play edition variants were a nice attempt to settle that debate, but honestly it was never going to get settled, was it? People are still going to argue about it, because reasons. The question I have at this point, though, is whether or not the experiment is finally coming to a close. Has the Google Play edition handset seen the encroaching sunset, and Google’s ready to pull the plug on the whole thing?
After all, the Moto G Google Play edition handset was a pretty good deal for what it was, and while the Galaxy S4 GPe was probably never going to get a big boost of sales again, at least it was an option. Now the only handset remaining is the GPe variant of the HTC One (M8), which is certainly a powerful device to go out on.
As for the rest of us, and you out there, I can’t help but wonder if you bought a Google Play edition handset and what your experience was like. Did you keep it, and are you still using it to this day? Or was it something you trie, but ultimately returned to switch back to what you were using before? Let me know!