Google’s Play edition of Android smartphones sounded like such a great compromise: take attractive handsets from major manufacturers and make them available to users with a pure Android, Nexus-like software experience. But for the better part of a year now, Google’s been slowly dismantling the program. While the HTC One M8 joined the lineup last spring, we never got a GPe Galaxy S5 from Samsung. And in the months since, Google’s pulled phone after phone from its listings. The last holdout was the One M8, but now even that’s gone too, leaving Google selling nothing but its own Nexus hardware.
Considering how we were just talking about how great it would be to see Google keep Google Play edition models coming, this is some unfortunate news. Google hasn’t formally announced that GPe is done for good, and it’s always possible that this spring’s flagship launches might see a few of their models arrive as new GPe phones, but considering the extent to which Google’s let the program stagnate, we’re not holding our breath.
Then again, maybe Google’s just getting ready for something new – something like the Play edition but that will take a slightly different form. Maybe more like Android One? Time will tell, but for now we’re just sad to see the last GPe phone go.