If you scour the web for daily tech news you likely will already be familiar with the term “Developer Edition” because it seems after the release of almost every companies flagship smartphone for the year. However, that does not mean most people have any idea what developer edition means.
What arguably made Android so popular to begin with was a) how cheap some handsets were to buy and b) how open the operating system was. Hacking became a cool thing to do and everybody wanted to install custom ROMs and aftermarket apps which were appealing not because it was bad, but because it was interesting.
Firmware and mobile phones go together like chalk and cheese and you might also be familiar with hearing about an Apple firmware update that is released to developers. That is a completely different thing to having a developer’s variant of the phone.
Where things get complicated is when we get to the business side of things with phone carriers. On the Android OS, there is a part called a bootloader and carriers often lock this bootloader that stops any custom ROMs and other activities that aren’t available naturally. If you buy the Developer Edition phone, which usually costs a little more, then the bootloader will be unlocked and thus not restricting you.
This year’s HTC One M8 did not have anything different about it. As much as we love the phone, the only feature that stands out is getting to use Sense 6 and that itself has its own unique software appeal that is well on the way to being like an aftermarket Rom.
The “All New One” is a brand new device now, but it will be outdated and depreciate quickly because, in less than 4 months, we will see the launch of the new Snapdragon 805 processor. That means if I did not have much money to spend and I was reaching to try to afford this handset I would pass on it. However, if capital wasn’t a problem and I wanted to buy the 2014 HTC One then I would choose the Developers Edition and open it up without any hesitation.
The reason I would have been hesitant to do that earlier is because when we install a custom ROM it is never quite as stable as the stock firmware you would be running from Android. This years flagship smartphone from the Taiwanese manufacturer that means it will have a fast, reliable and stable version of Android 4.4 KitKat running.