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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  • randomlinh - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    Hrm, is the bootloader locked in the GPad? It's currently $50 cheaper at best buy
  • jonup - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    It is for now.
  • MWisBest - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    Was hoping that the Z Ultra would have LTE Band 13 support, unfortunately it doesn't. One of these days we'll get a decent unlocked phone on Verizon again... one of these days...
  • jeffkibuule - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    Unlikely, since any phone attached to Verizon's CDMA network must go through their approval process, you aren't gone to find devices that just "happen" to support their network.
  • giannyjr - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    I hope they fixed the touch issue with the 8.3
  • jonup - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    What touch issues?
  • BetaDeux - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    With the rumor of a larger Nexus device to replace the 10 coming down the pipe, this announcement is disappointing. The LG G Pad 8.3’s specs are too middling to be attractive for $350. The screen size is appealing, but it needs 300+ ppi screen at that price point. Moreover, the G Pad has virtually the same processor as a Nexus 7. For $120 more than Nexus 7 you get 1.3 inches of lessor screen, 200 MHz, and microSD slot. I guess some people will want the microSD bad enough, but I just don’t see this thing selling. As is, the price needs to drop to about $280. LG should put in a Snapdragon 800 and the aforementioned screen, then bump up the price. Basically make a Kindle Fire HDX GPe. That would sell.

    I seem to be echoing JJJ and mrdude’s sentiments. This tab’s position in the market is just seems bad. I know GPe devices are based on production devices, but why even bother with this tab.
  • prussian - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    To fill Google's PLAYground I guess. Now they have devices of 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10 inches as their own base to experiment UI designs on display of all sizes.
  • Impulses - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    It's not like Google's going out if their way here, it's LG who has to manage an extra SKU/build... Maybe they thought this would give G Pad sales a shot in the arm, some people will surely pay $120 for the card slot alone... At least if you believe the litany of complaints in these comments over every single device without removable storage.

    Personally, I own a 2013 N7. It'll probably last me a good two years just like my OG Transformer... However, I happen to like the bigger 8" form factor, seems like a sweet spot for me. Would I pay $120 more for it tho? Probably not, dunno. Tough if they had announced this pre-Black Friday (and if I didn't own a N7) I would definitely have picked the regular G Pad up with the intention of turning it into a GPE version.
  • vailr - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    Who actually makes Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX? A Google Play Store edition of the 8.9" Kindle Fire HDX (minus the Amazon branding) running Android 4.4 Kit Kat would be an interesting option to the LG 8.3" device. Especially if: they added an SD or microSD memory slot.

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