Yesterday, the last Google Play edition device disappeared from the Google Play Store. It was the HTC One (M8) GPe, and it suggests, at least for now, that Google is ditching its initiative to sell popular Android smartphones outfitted with a pure version of Android. The initiative first kicked off back during Google I/O 2013 when the company announced the Galaxy S4 Google Play edition device with stock Android 4.2.2.
The first hint that the program was coming to an end was when the Galaxy S5 never appeared in the store with a pure version of Android on it. Slowly, over time, the remaining devices began to disappear. The Galaxy S4 GPe vanished earlier this month, likely as stock dissipated, and we never saw the introduction of newer smartphones sold as GPe devices.
Perhaps it’s because Google has changed its focus on the Nexus program, once purely reserved for developers and enthusiasts and now targeted at consumers. The Nexus 5 is still available, though stock of that is likely dwindling, while the Nexus 6 is your best bet if you want a pure Lollipop experience. Also, keep in mind, that Motorola is still selling phones with a near stock build.
We reached out for Google to comment on the program, and to find out whether or not the program is dead once and for all, but a spokesperson was not immediately available. It looks like the focus is all on Nexus for now, though.