Today Google dropped by news of three new products hitting the Google Play store's device section, Google Play editions of LG's G Pad 8.3 and Sony's Xperia Z Ultra, and a Nexus 7 available in white. For those who haven't followed, Google Play Edition devices run software built by the respective device OEMs, but updated in a timely fashion to the latest version of Android, and a strictly stock UI without third party software preloads or skins. Before this announcement there were two other Google Play edition devices, the Samsung Galaxy S4, and HTC One which we've reviewed. All three come running Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box.

We've seen leaks and rumors to its effect, but the first is a Google Play edition of LG's G Pad 8.3 tablet which has an 8.3 inch 1920x1200 display and Snapdragon 600 APQ8064 SoC, the storage side is 16 GB of internal, and a microSD slot. There's also dual band WiFi, a 5 MP rear camera, and 1.3 MP front facing camera. It's an interesting tablet that should augment the Nexus 7 nicely for people looking for a slightly bigger display but aren't quite sold on the somewhat aging Nexus 10. The G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition is $349 and available only in the US. We've been working on a review of the LG G Pad for some time now, and are interested to see the differences with the Google Play edition. 

Next is a Google Play edition of the Xperia Z Ultra available for $649 in the US which comes with 16 GB of internal storage and drops the Xperia branding. This looks like model C6806 with pentaband WCDMA in addition to LTE bands 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 17 (meaning it will work on T-Mobile and AT&T LTE and WCDMA natively in the US) but running a GPe software load. The Xperia Z Ultra is a large smartphone with 6.4-inch 1080p display and based around the 2.2 GHz MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 SoC. I've been using an Xperia Z Ultra for some time now and am intrigued by the device and its form factor, having a Google Play edition of the device available just sweetens the deal. 

Last but not least is a white color option for the Nexus 7 (2013) which spices things up. Google has been a fan of white variants of its devices, usually reserving them for some special edition launch or I/O giveaway, I'm glad to see a white version of the Nexus 7 arrive in time. The white Nexus 7 is only available in the WiFi variant, 32 GB, and in the US, UK, and Japan. 

We hope to have hands on with all three within a few days, and a complete look at what's different for the two new Google Play edition devices. 

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  • Impulses - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    I think Amazon had it even cheaper at $260... That being said, I don't see what's so absurd about the $350 price point for a larger tablet with removable storage (specially since it isn't a Nexus so it doesn't benefit from Google's marketing dollars).

    Still cheaper than an iPad mini or almost any larger tablet, with a few exceptions (ASUS TF101? same price but comes with dock/Office). Regardless, your beef is with LG, not Google. LG decided the original model would sell for $350...

    If you're talking about the price of the nexus 10, I'd have to agree... No tablet running a mobile OS is worth more than $350 IMO. I was saying it two years ago and it's truer today with the price point some Atom stuff is hitting.

    Only reason I bought a tablet back then was Staple's $100 off deal on the OG $399 Transformer, otherwise my current Nexus 7 would probably have been my first tablet.
  • jjj - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    Well. yes that's the point i was making.Pretty much all tablets above 7 inch are overpriced. At 7 inch you got lots of reasonably priced options, go above it an it all goes to hell.And that is the problem. 7 inch tablets are selling well, not because consumers just love tiny tablets but because there isn't a compelling offering for bigger devices.
    8.3 inch is about 40% more screen area than 7 inch, 10 inch is twice the area of a 7 inch device. The cost of the devices goes up with the cost of the screen, a few $ for the larger battery and a few more for the larger body but the premiums we see in retail pricing for bigger sizes are not justified at all.
    It is rather odd for you to argue that a 10 inch tablet should be 350$ or less ,yet you are fine with 8.3 inch at the same price.
    As for my beef, i started about this tablet and then generalized. This tablet was rumored to be a Nexus device so it is disappointing to see that it's not and the price is way high and after all even as a Google Play edition ,Google decides what to sell in it's store and it's a pity that they accepted this kind of pricing for a device they support this way.
    Anyway, Google is supposed to push Android. They did so by launching the Nexus 7 in response to the Kindle and that jump started the 7 inch category, now we got a lot of 7 inch tablets. But they only did it because they were forced to and this year they upped the price by 30$,against their own interests. Now they will most likely react to the Windows threat in bigger tablets but it is already late, they should have done it before there was a threat not react to it and who know show late that will be. Google is not not acting,it is reacting ,that's not the right way to do it ,they need to lead not follow. And all this comes after a long saga of tablet missteps and struggles.
  • Bob Todd - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    To be fair about the N7 pricing, the original debuted at $199 for the 8GB model. I paid $249 for the 16GB SKU at launch. For 2013 they dropped the 8GB and the 16GB comes in at $230, so comparing launch pricing the new model is actually _cheaper_ than the original for the equivalent SKU. So in one years time you get a tablet that's a huge upgrade in pretty much every way for $20 less than what you got the previous generation.

    Generally agree on the > 7" pricing being out of whack, especially for mobile OS devices. I happily paid $400 for my 10" 64GB T100, but that's a for a device that can do more than my Nexus and included a keyboard (and Office).
  • Impulses - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    I mostly agree with your argument about large tablet pricing,manufacturers just decided large = premium price point and consumers blindly agreed... It's really the precedent set by the iPad. Two quibbles though, the Nexus 7 was coming whether there was a Kindle or not. They didn't turn around and develop it in a few weeks as a response, and the price was probably in the neighborhood (given some of ASUS other aggressive price points).

    Also, I'm not so sure Goggle sets the price for GPE devices, and I'm not so sure Windows tablets will really put much pressure on these devices. From a logical enthusiast point of view you'd sure think so, but the general consumer market doesn't seem to care much about productivity devices, x86, or even how much NAND they're getting at any given price point...
  • mrdude - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    The iPad mini with retina display is $399. It's also got a way better SoC, better display, and it's brand appeal is worth more; while I personally avoid Apple, that fruity logo does draw a crowd. $350 is too much to ask for this. I think ~$250-$300 is a more suitable asking price.

    You're definitely spot on that LG is to blame here, though. Google doesn't build this device nor does it price it.
  • ESC2000 - Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - link

    The A7 is not that much better than the snap dragon 600, not enough to notice anyway. True the display on the mini is better but again it's a matter of degree as the g pad's is very nice as well. Can't disagree on the mysterious appeal of the "fruity logo."

    The g pad needed to launch six or eight months earlier and under $300 and it would have been much more compelling. Its SOC and display would've been top of the line for small tablets then, and it would've beat the nexus 7 to market.
  • bplewis24 - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    You have a seriously skewed perception of the market and the trends if you think $350 is "absurd" and that Android is always behind the curve.

    That being said, if Windows tablets (NOT RT tablets, which are not the threat here) manufacturers are pricing their products below markup (and possibly profit) to gain market share, that is a tactical decision based on demand, and has nothing to do with Google or Android being "behind the curve." It has to do with Windows being behind the curve.
  • jjj - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    Actually i know very well the market,the costs and what consumers are willing to pay.
    And if you ask anyone that knows even a little bit the market they'll tell you that 350$ for an 8.3 inch tablet is absurd. It is absurd when the Nexus 7 is 230 ,when the Asus Memo Pad HD 8GB is 129$ and sales numbers are showing just how absurd it is.
  • syxbit - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    I agree with jjj. While some may consider $350 for the LG a 'good' deal, the reality is that this will probably not sell that well. Certainly a LOT less than the Nexus 7
  • amdwilliam1985 - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    What's the spec of "Asus Memo Pad HD 8GB"?
    How is that comparable to the Nexus 7 16GB 2013?
    If memory serves me correctly, Asus Memo Pad HD 8GB ~ Nexus 7 2012 8GB spec which you can get at very low price too.

    Having access to pure Android and prompt update alone worth the Nexus "premium" price.

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