Thanks Smoothie. Although as you say only speculation it's still interesting. A post that I saw regarding the 890 last on a Swedish blog (http://www.shoegazing.se/2014/07/04/nyhet-edward-green-lanserar-nya-lasten-890/) mentions that the 890 is derived from the RL 89 last (assuming Google translate didn't mangle the meaning when I translated it from Swedish).
From what they (EG) told me (without actually saying it), the 890 is a derivative of the 888 in an attempt to phase it out (the 888) and have something that was EG made and not Tony G made as I believe the 888 was. Of course they did not mention Tony G. directly, but one can put 2 & 2 in order to make 4, especially when words like "more English, more defined etc" were being used. That being, the 890 is the new 888 and I expect that the 888 will be phased out slowly but surely. As per it being wider, I can't speak on that front, but the toe is definitely narrower at the tip, but very slightly and is a bit sharper too.
+1 those prices are a bit much....
G&G are looking in to the possibility to offer a hand welted range, only made MTO like Deco, with the same type of pre-cut insoles (where they order the insoles with the holdfasts already cut out) as Saint Crispin's, Enzo Bonafé, Meermin and most other RTW/MTO brands do (more or less just the Hungarians who do their RTW/MTO hand welting the bespoke way, where they cut out the holdfast themselves from a thicker insole). But it was just early plans from G&G which they told me when I visited the factory last fall, not at all sure that it would actually happen. Haven't heard anything about it since then, but I can check with them and see if there's been happening anything on this front (most likely not much though, since they probably been all busy with new factory and shop to look into this as well).
Due to all of the back and forth chat on SF about gemming, G&G did attempt a thick leather insole with holdfast on a RTW shoe and the results were not pleasing to them. Tony told me that there is a reason for gemming in RTW (outside of saving a buck or two) and while I truly can't remember his explanation in full, I remember it making sense in a manufacturing way. I believe that it has do with balance and the finesse of his shoes. If I remember correctly, he said that using the thick leather insole to make a holdfast for welting automatically bulked up his shoes and put them off the balance (way too much toe spring), resulting in a shoe that did not look as appealing (nor as comfortable) as your typical G&G shoe.
This is not exactly what you were referring to in regards to handwelting but does touch on the idea of using leather insoles and holdfasts as opposed to canvas ribs...