Well, that was fast. LG inadvertently outed a G-Pad tablet that would be getting the Google Play Edition treatment earlier today, and Google has just followed up with a confirmation, a price tag ($349) and another device to add to the mix. Sony’s $649 Z Ultra is also available in the Google Play store, much to the chagrin of rumormongers who have long claimed that Sony would soon get a crack at crafting a Nexus device.
Alas, global gadget fiends won’t be able to join in the fun — like the Google Play Edition HTC One and Galaxy S 4 before it, these devices aren’t yet slated for an international launch.
The spec sheet on the G Pad 8.3 hasn’t changed since last we saw it (8.3-inch 1920×1200 display, 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 chipset with 2GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage) but the announcement of the Sony Z Ultra largely came out of the blue. If that name sounds mildly familiar, it’s because the X Ultra is a lightly modified version of the Xperia Z Ultra smartphone that debuted to positive critical feedback earlier this year. The exclusion of the Xperia branding is honestly a little confusing though — it’s not like the brand couldn’t use a publicity boost in the United States, and Samsung’s Galaxy moniker is still slapped on its Google Play Edition phone.
Branding or not, the Z Ultra is still a hot little number with its 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 chip, 2GB of RAM, 6.4-inch 1080p display, LTE support, and waterproof chassis. It’s one of Sony’s best handsets to date, and frankly it’s heartening to see that the company is finally seems to be finding its footing in a hectic smartphone market after it discontinued its efforts on lower-end devices. Then again, the Google Play Edition badge (and the accoutrements that come with us) don’t always translate into sales success. Both devices are available for sale now if you’re living within the confines of the 50 states, so have at it if you’re itching for a little pre-holiday shopping spree.
This is a developing story, please refresh for updates.