Until recently the ability to flash a Google Play Edition ROM existed in the GSM-only realms of the HTC One M8, with a couple of works-in-progress floating around, but recently Sprint got a working port from a functioning Verizon build marking a time when Google Play Edition ROMs are flashable on all devices.
The GPE runs Android 4.4.3, so if you’ve been clamoring for this incremental update
that removes /system writes for security, there you go.
The Google Play Edition is pure Android with no fancy launchers, widgets, or Blinkfeed to get onto your battery’s feed train. It unfortunately comes with the GPE/Android/AOSP camera, which turns your amazing One M8 camera into a much less featured camera. The pictures will still look good, but for fans of ImageSense chip-based image preprocessing, you’re going to be abandoning that.
The upside here is you’ve got a much cleaner ROM, battery life should be exceptional, and all of HTC’s random doodads should not be included in the ROM (although you can install some of them back if you want).
The download clocks in at 460MB, making it about a gigabyte less than your average Sense-based ROM these days. There are no install instructions included with the ROM, some of the GSM variants required flashing of an RUU and partition updating, but nothing’s listed here and I do not know if that’s because we already had the correct layout on CDMA or the devs just worked around it.
I’m not sure if you need a GAPPS package either, but I’d assume not.
If you are feeling like installing it, drop a line and let us know how it is. I’m working on another ROM review at the moment, so jumping to GPE at the moment isn’t a good option for me. That and I am using the device as a phone of all things at the moment.
If you’re not on Sprint, there’re GPE editions for Verizon (linked in the source thread,) and most GSM carriers.