Unfortunately it drops compatibility with HBase 0.90.x due to two issues which introduced a dependency on HBase 0.92:
Fortunately these were relatively easy to revert so that's what we did because we wanted to all the 0.9.0 goodness on our HBase 0.90.4 cluster (CDH3u3).
I've forked Hive on Github and reverted the parts of those two issues (HIVE-2748, HIVE-2764) that were causing problems.
For all those "stuck" with HBase 0.90 (e.g. CDH3 users) we've also deployed this custom Hive HBase Handler to our own Maven repository and will maintain that for the foreseeable future. You can just download the jar file and use it in your projects or use our Maven repository:
Note for Maven experts: I'm not sure if this is a valid classifier. I couldn't find any naming rules.
org.apache.hive hive-hbase-handler 0.9.0 hbase-0.90-compat
That's it! We might maintain this for future versions of Hive but we'd love to hear about any problems in any case.