If Google’s strategy of releasing Play edition devices isn’t working, the company is sure doing a good job of hiding that fact: In the space of a month the number of smartphones and tablets bestowed with that title has grown from two to five. None of these devices are brand-new; they’re all existing devices created by popular Android manufacturers. The difference is that each one has been unlocked, stripped of custom firmware features/modifications and blessed with a stock version of the latest Android build. As a result, you get a Nexus-like experience on a wider variety of devices, and you typically receive updates much faster than any other Android gadget out there. Motorola’s Moto G is the most recent device to be given this treatment, and at $180 (8GB) or $200 (16GB), it’s the least expensive Google Play edition you can buy.
We’re the first to applaud the opportunity (and ability to choose) to use flagship devices without pre-installed bloatware, unnecessary features and user experience that’s been dictated by the manufacturer. That said, we have to wonder if the Moto G really needs to be turned into a Google Play edition — after all, the GSM version of the smartphone already comes unlocked, uses a mostly stock Android UI, is void of needless bloatware and has only a few additional software features like Moto Assist, Migrate and a different camera interface. It even got an update to Android 4.4 KitKat shortly after the device’s launch. How exactly does the Google Play edition differ from the original, and which one is the better choice? We just got our hands on the new version of the Moto G, so keep reading to find out. by engadget