Sony Xperia Z Ultra is first Google Play Edition phablet and it’s bagged KitKat


Sony Xperia Z Ultra Google Play Edition

Sony's Xperia Z Ultra is the first Google Play Edition phablet and it gets Android KitKat.


The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is officially the first phablet to get a Google Play Edition and as a result is also the first to pack Android KitKat. It also brings the total number of Google Play Edition devices to 4 with the Galaxy S4, HTC One and the LG G Pad 8.3 all already getting the treatment.


If we had to predict which would be the first phablet to get a Google Play Edition we'd have chosen the Galaxy Note 3, given that Samsung have already released a Galaxy S4 GPE - but nope it's Sony's stunning waterproof phablet that has won the race.


Sony's Xperia Z Ultra Google Play Edition is now available to buy from Google Play Store in the US for $649 (about £395). No confirmation on whether it's coming to the UK, but if does we should expect to pay that bit more for Sony's 6.4 inch monster.


For the uninitiated Google Play Editions are identical to the manufacturer versions in terms of hardware, but they come pre-loaded with stock versions of Google Android. So you don't get any of the manufacturer's 'bloatware' that is often included on modern devices.


The major reason for the introduction of Google Play Edition is to enable Android updates to be pushed out sooner because you don't have to wait for the manufacturer to customise the latest Android release.


For example, the Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play Editions got Android KitKat in November, but the manufacturer versions won't get the chocolate-themed update until early next year. And the only way to enjoy Android KitKat on the Xperia Z Ultra today is to buy the new Google Play Edition.


Google Play Editions are undoubtedly a great addition, but the major downside is you have to buy them outright. Is it possible that operators could stock GPEs in the future, or does having to wait for an operator to brand the update devalue their whole ethos?


Let us know you your thoughts by leaving a comment below.


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By Simon Thomas on 11th December, 2013

Tags: Sony Xperia Z UltraSony Xperia Z Ultra Google Play Edition

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