Many might have been enamored by HTC latest flagship but don’t really give a care for the custom software running on the HTC One M8. Trying to combine the best of all words, some more enterprising developers over at XDA have come up with ways to get a Google Play Edition on the smartphone experience without having to pay more for an unlocked GPE device.

The HTC One M8 posses some desirable hardware and a body design that has already been proven to appeal to a large number of smartphone users. The dual camera setup, one of the highlights of this 2014 incarnation of the HTC One, might have already sold the smartphone to many would-be buyers. Admittedly, installing Google’s stock Android version would take out apps that take advantage of that hardware, but it is always possible that someone would come along later to make APKs available.

But even if that never happens, to some, having the vanilla Android experience is well worth the sacrifice. For this group of people, a few options are now available. Of course, most if not all involve wiping the device, so an amount of risk is involved and precautions such as backups must be taken. Like this custom recovery from XDA Recognized Developer graffixnyc, The developer warns that this flashable recovery will wipe out everything on the device, including internal storage. Furthermore, while the actual flashing process itself isn’t exactly difficult, getting to that point is. As a prerequisite, the One M8 needs to be in S-OFF mode, meaning that the device’s NAND memory is unlocked. This can be handled by a new firewater s-off utility that both disables this HTC security feature and also unlocks the bootloader. After that preparation is made, flashing the recovery can be done via the ADB tool.

One might wonder why go through all the hoops. One can always just buy a Google Play Edition of the HTC One M8 after all. But as mentioned, this way, though risky, combines the best of everything. You get the HTC One M8’s hardware and the vanilla Android experience without having to give up on a carrier contract or pay a more expensive $699 for a GPE device.

VIA: XDA (1), (2)