Which M8 version to buy?

I like being able to switch around which carrier(s) I'm using, so I buy my GSM phones unlocked. Have been with the Nexus line for awhile, but decided to upgrade to HTC One M8 this go around.

Quick question with the above in mind: I'd like to root my phone once purchased for certain app flexibility. Should I buy the "unlocked", the "developer edition", or the GPE?

Advantages/disadvantages of each version for my situation?

Thanks all!


GPE has vanilla android. so you will see cheap stupid launcher (shell). yes, it's fast. but with devices like M8 you shouldn't care about speed, device has under the hood plenty of power for all bells and whistles you want to. so I recommend carrier-free (unlocked) device with HTC's shell. it's very cool and I don't believe it's damn slow compared to vanilla.


I came here today to post this EXACT question. I'm buying the M8, but want to get the developer edition mainly to have an unlocked bootloader and unlocked SIM. Though I feel since I run stock ROMS like ARHD, it may not behoove me to get developer edition. Maybe just the UNLOCKED edition. I'm also reading that having S-OFF, makes it easier to brick the phone if you're not careful. Though, I don't plan to get that deep. I just like experimenting with different ROMS. Grrrr, they're the same price, so I dunno.


Thread starter
I'm coming from Nexus, so I don't really understand the whole s-off thing. Can I still root it and run the stock ROM if I leave s-on? I just want root for a few things (some tasked functions, etc). Don't plan on running any custom ROMs.


The PearlyMon
HTCs are not unlike the Nexus with respect to rooting - not a surprise given that the first Nexus was an HTC.

To root -
1. Unlock bootloader
2. Install custom recovery
3. Install SuperSU to root the rom you got out of the box, or install a rooted custom rom instead

The bootloader unlock difference is trivial. On a Nexus with a PC, you use fastboot and send the oem unlock command. On an HTC, you use fastboot and send a command to use the unlock token that you get emailed to you from HTCdev.com.

However - the HTC bootloader (called hboot) still maintains encrypted signature security protection - or in HTC terms - it's s-on.

When s-on, you're limited as to your options for writing to the /boot partition (where the kernel is) and you can not update any firmware by downloading to your pc and fastboot flashing it - that means that when the radio firmware is updated, you have to go back to stock, relock your bootloader, get radio firmware updates from your carrier, then go through the whole root thing again.

In this regard, an unlocked s-on HTC is very much like an unlocked Nexus. With the Nexus, you still have the "secure bootloader" message while unlocked and you have to use bootloaders with encrypted security signatures from Google.

So at this point, the difference between an unlocked Nexus and an HTC will be that the HTC has region and carrier versions that the Nexus doesn't.

The big easy button is to turn off bootloader security - iow - s-off. Then you can do whatever you want, fairly easily.

And that sort of unlocking and security is not related to carrier unlocking even though the word unlock is used in both cases.

So, what you probably want is the carrier unlocked model. Unlock the bootloader and root it. Then get s-off - be prepared for paying $25 for the app for that, it's worth it.

Then get SuperCID. Your carrier id (CID) is a binary one laid down deep in the firmware inside a binary word. Each bit in the word is zero except for the one that marks your carrier and region. SuperCID is a mod that basically writes all ones there - so rather than belonging to no region or carrier, you're recognized as right for any of them.

Then, unlocked, s-off and SuperCID, you'll have complete and absolute freedom and control of your GSM phone, beyond that of even the Nexus.

On a side note -

If you want to try or be able to try a wider range of roms, you do not want the GPE.

The GPE uses a different layout from the stock version - if you want to go back and forth, you'll need to be s-off and the procedure is a complicated pain in the neck.

If you go with the stock M8, you'll have the option to go with a number of customized Sense roms or AOSP-derived and CM-derived roms - I rather expect that you could get or achieve yourself whatever rom setup you'd like but without the hassle of changing partitions.

But - if you're *sure* that you'll never want to try Sense and really expect to not heavily mod things, the GPE edition is a good decision.

Hope this helps, welcome to the forums! :)


So, if I get developer edition, which is s-off and unlocked bootloader from the factory, can I install GPE ROM using stock recovery? Also, does installing ROMs on developer edition void the warranty?


The PearlyMon
So, if I get developer edition, which is s-off and unlocked bootloader from the factory, can I install GPE ROM using stock recovery? Also, does installing ROMs on developer edition void the warranty?

If you get the developer edition, last I checked, you don't get s-off. I know that at the M8 release, developer edition owners were using the general s-off available at the time like everyone else.

Unlocking through HTCdev.com does warn you that voids your warranty. Some people skip that with a temp root and go right to s-off. Which technically stills voids your warranty but you can hide the markers.

You can install nothing except stock updates, either from Google for the GPE or OTA from a carrier, using the stock recovery.

Custom recovery is your number one tool as a rooted user.

As I mentioned - you can install the GPE rom on a stock s-off phone - but it's not easy, it's actually a pain and you can get similar with other custom roms. People do actually go to the other type (and just as often back to where they started) but the support threads are non-trivial for those. I elected against it but your mileage may vary.

Android is all about choice. :)


The PearlyMon
so its worth getting the google play edition of this phone and using it on ATT?

If you're not into further changes, sure.

GPE gets you straight Android + some HTC enhancements and likely faster updates.

Personally, I think compared to Sense is probably like steak vs lobster or something - there's no wrong answer when personal preference is on the line.

I think - you'll have to check out the latest deals open to you - that if you're really into modding you may be able to convert to GPE from a subsidized model for less.

Warning - I'm biased.

I prefer Sense overall, then heavily customize with ViperOneM8 rom, Nova launcher and a few other replacements.

I think that the M8 is so fast it just doesn't matter what you through at it, so I go fully loaded.

But that's just my opinion ok, nothing more.
I havent been too successful rooting phones. I was able to do my Droid X from way back in the day but havent been too good at rooting my S4 on ATT. I know this is the wrong for this topic, but I was able to unlock the bootloader, well it says unlocked and shows a lock unlocked so I am assuming it is....So rooting the device isn't a deal breaker, I can deal with the bloatware that comes with carrier phones....I know there are rumors of a new HTC device in 2015 but this phone is absolutely gorgeous and fast as hell from what I hear. I know its personal preference and all but from your saying GPE M8 might only be worth it for the faster updates....?


The PearlyMon
Faster updates is a mixed blessing and a matter of personal preference.

When you get Android updates first, you sometimes get bugs and confusion first. For example -


Updates are not as important as they used to be.

Today, most of your key Android services runs through a separate module called Google Play Services. Unlike the old days where you needed a full update for the equivalent of that, today Google just pushes updates to that from the Play Store.

And the latest version of Google Play Services means that you can run the latest versions of the major apps, even if you're way behind on Android.

That's a huge departure from the old days and the way Apple still does it, requiring people to update their whole iOS operating system. (Side note, they've done a great job marketing how fast they get updates out, but there's a better way and Android does it now.)

So - if you like running the latest Android (for any reason, no big deal what floats your boat) and you're OK with a trimmed down user experience out of the box, you want a Nexus.

If you want almost as trimmed down but just a little behind the Nexus for the update schedule, and a few extra hardware features, you want a GPE.

If you don't care about the fastest update schedule and want a really rich user experience right out of the box, you want the standard Sense version (and for example, the standard Sense version is getting the Lollipop / Android 5 update within the next 90 days from HTC, plus or minus what your carrier adds for testing).

A lot of people know that I always shop the other brands, get excited and then buy the latest HTC I can anyway. My friends, here on the forums and out in the world enjoy poking fun at me for that and I'm way ok with that - if the poster boy for HTC shoe fits, wear it. :D

But let me give a few non-fanboy examples of what I mean by richer user experience with stock Sense.

I use Exchange ActiveSync email for work.

Many apps claim to support it and you can buy specialty email apps specifically for it.

And nothing holds a candle to the Exchange ActiveSync support built in to HTC Sense - fact, not opinion.

I like a nice clock / weather widget and I like a really good news reader.

In a way, those are trivial because there are a lot of great apps for those things. And when I look at the creativity some people show on the "show your home page" threads here, I'm really humbled, I just don't have that flair. And I've chased a lot - if not all lmao - of the news reader apps out there. Again, lots of excellence, flexibility

Blinkfeed, part of Sense, is made for people like me. It's built in, does a great job as a unified clock, weather and news widget and it just works, not complicated and looks good. I customized my Blinkfeed feeds for my news preferences, my wife didn't bother and she's completely happy with her news. Because time and weather are a swipe away on the homepage, no more need for extra widgets there.

I even mixed mine up with a different launcher than stock Sense, she didn't and neither of us miss out on the big easy button for features. Because we can rely on Google Play Services updates to support our apps, we just don't care about the latest Android.

If you're like that, you want Sense, because there are lots more examples like that.

If you don't care about things like that and enjoy the fun of customizing your own stock Android experience (anyway, I think it's fun, I've done that too) and you want to know that you're getting the whole Android update enchilada ASAP then you probably want the GPE.

Sorry I can't give a better answer to your question - I'm just trying to give an honest answer despite my bias so you can decide what's right for you.

You asked about GPE, and I had to explain Sense so I could explain how GPE is different.

If a GPE fan checks in, no doubt they'll be able to give a much clearer answer. :) :D

Anyway - hope this helps.


The PearlyMon
Here's the shorter version of my point of view.

In 2010, I *needed* Froyo ASAP, Android was lacking. I needed to cut down on Sense and carrier bloatware, it was too demanding for my hardware. If they would have offered a GPE, I'd have gotten it.

In 2011, I *needed* Gingerbread ASAP, Android was lacking. I needed to cut down on carrier bloatware, it was too demanding for my hardware. If they'd have offered a GPE, I might have gotten it.

In 2012, I *needed* Ice Cream Sandwich, I couldn't run the latest version of my apps without it. I cut down on a little Sense because my hardware was lacking just a little and I disabled bloatware because I could. If they had offered a GPE, I'm not sure if I'd have cared or not. (The biggest ICS feature - people-centric use rather than app-centric use, has been the foundation of Sense all along.)

In 2013, I ditched Jellybean because the addition of Google Now was too demanding for my hardware and I discovered that I just don't care about Google Now. I went back to Ice Cream because I was rooted and I could.

In 2014, I got KitKat with my M8. I disabled bloatware because it's just wrong and my hardware can do anything. Now they have GPE and it's just an interesting thing to read about for me.

Some people think that is crazy and backwards and wrong. And that's ok, Android is all about choice.

For those people, they make the Nexus and the GPE models.

That's really the best description of how I see it, fwiw.

However you choose an M8, you're going to win.
Thats really the only thing i've never liked was the carrier bloatware. if its easily removed then id stick with the ATT variant.

GPE wouldn't really matter to me because as you said, just because its the latest greatest, doesn't mean its the best.

Is that what you were trying to say?


The PearlyMon

Sprint changed their policy a few years back - you can either uninstall or disable the lion's share of their bloatware. (But not the Sprint app - I actually use that to connect to service or my bill, others hate it as useless bloatware.)

You'll have to find someone on AT&T to get the lowdown on their latest bloatware policy.


Android Enthusiast
Which apps of Sprint's bloatware can be disabled? Is it done via Settings>Apps>then call up individual apps and then click "Disable"?


The PearlyMon
Which apps of Sprint's bloatware can be disabled? Is it done via Settings>Apps>then call up individual apps and then click "Disable"?

They download a bunch after setup - and you can just uninstall them.

They used to install them as system apps and you had to disable them. Now they don't bother, they're just add-ons.


Android Enthusiast
Any thoughts as to which apps that came with the phone from the carrier (Sprint) are safe to disable/freeze on a NON-rooted phone?



Android Enthusiast
Any thoughts as to which apps that came with the phone from the carrier (Sprint) are safe to disable/freeze on a NON-rooted phone?



The PearlyMon
Any thoughts as to which apps that came with the phone from the carrier (Sprint) are safe to disable/freeze on a NON-rooted phone?


I didn't keep a list. The phone updated, a big game offer folder showed up on one screen, along with sports apps, some other marketing stuff - so I deleted.

After any major upgrade, factory data reset - that's good for cleaning out the Dalvik and good for getting rid of their add-ons in general.