$649 price tag, compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile in the US
Google has dropped yet another surprise in the device section at Google Play, and this one comes from Sony in the form of their 6.4-inch Z Ultra.
The latest Google Play edition device, the Z Ultra, will have the same hardware and specifications we all know and love, but carry a basic "Nexus-like" build of the software. This has proven to be a quick track for manufacturers to get the Google Play edition devices on the latest version of Android, and keep them there.
At the same time, hardware features typically not found in Nexus devices (SD cards come to mind) are included and supported. It's a win-win situation for consumers, and one we love to see.
The Z Ultra Google Play edition is available now at Google Play, and carries a $649 price tag. As with the previous Google Play edition devices, this looks to be US only — at least for the time being. The Z Ultra GPe has full support for HSPA+ and LTE on both AT&T and T-Mobile in the US.
Amid all the Google Play edition news dropping today, Google has also taken the wraps off the Nexus 7 (2013) in white. Google says it'll be available in the UK, U.S. and Japan, and besides the change in color it's the same ASUS-made, current-generation Nexus 7 we've been using since the summer.
It's worth noting that at the time of writing it's only available in Wifi + 32GB versions — no 16GB or LTE at present.
For more, see the Play Store link above. It's currently marked as "coming soon" in the UK; in the U.S. it's available to order right now.
LG's latest mid-sized tablet comes in a new software flavor
Following tightly on rumors that it would release a stock tablet, LG has just announced the Google Play edition G Pad 8.3. The tablet looks nearly identical to the original version of the G Pad 8.3, but is of course running a stock version of Android 4.4 KitKat, as you would expect from a Google Play edition device.
The device is only available in black (rather than black and white), and packs the same 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage (expandable by MicroSD) and an 8.3-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS display.
The Google Play edition G Pad 8.3 is now available on the Play Store for $349.99, and at the moment shows 1-2 business day shipping. For the moment, Google and LG aren't releasing details on availability outside of the U.S.
Search, browse and share stock photos from your phone
One of the most popular stock photo and video services, Shutterstock, has released its own app into the Play Store after being available for some time on iOS. The Shutterstock mobile app lets you search, browse and view stock photography from its vast catalog, and then curate and share sets of photos with lightboxes.
And naturally if you choose to sign in with your Shutterstock account (you can browse for free regardless), your activity will be synced from mobile devices over to the web when you need to reference and image or make a purchase.
It's getting the time of the year where we look back at all the Android stuff that got released, and sort out the wheat from the chaff. As usual, there was a ton of stuff, and we can't go through it all without your input — and we're pretty sure you would like to have some input.
We've put together a survey, where you can tell us your thoughts on what was the best of 2013 in the Android world. Phones, tablets, apps, accessories — you name it and it's got a category. The survey will run for two weeks, and we'll use it to create a ballot where we all can vote for another two weeks. Of course, we'll share the results the first week of January.
So grab your Android (you can use your computer, too if that's how you wanna roll) and hit the link below. Tell us what you think needs to be on the ballot!
There's been some speculation online lately surrounding an upcoming LG tablet carrying the model number LG-V510. Twitter leaker @evleaksrecently published info suggesting it'd be a "Google open" device, and now files in an open-source code drop from LG itself refer to it as the "G Pad 8.3 Google Play edition."
The source code and framework support files appear to be from KitKat-based software, as you'd expect from this kind of tablet. What's more, Android Police has come up with a build.prop from the purported tablet, which is consistent with what we'd expect from such a device. So there are some strong indicators that we could be on the way to the first Google Play edition tablet, which might join the existing GPe phones on Google's online store.
A simpler, more functional way to find a new place to live
Finding just the right place to rent for your next apartment or home can be a very frustrating experience. If you've spent any decent amount of time looking to rent, you've no doubt spent countless hours dredging through Craigslist or just straight-up Google Maps search results, and that's just a terrible experience. Rental finder Lovely is now available on Android, thankfully, and it's here to help you find your next rental with less pain.
The app's main view is just a map of where you are, and for this kind of service it's exactly what you want to see. You begin zoomed out, with circles filled with numbers placed on the map showing the number of rentals available in that neighborhood. Tap a number or zoom in manually, and you'll see the numbers broken down into specific blocks of a city — tap in further and you'll get a list view accompanying the map with the listings.
Individual listings are simple and highlight the features you'll want to see when browsing rentals — price, bedrooms, square footage, amenities and the address. The top area of each listing is devoted to pictures, and while the rental companies don't always provide the best shots, when you find one that does the experience is great.
Google this morning announced a new cadre of apps for its Chromecast streaming appliance — as well as the ability to cast local content to your TV.
The new apps include the likes of VEVO, Red Bull.TV, Songza, PostTV, Viki, Revision 3 and BeyondPod. And you'll be able to stream local media from your phone or tablet over Plex, Avia or RealPlayer Cloud. Not quite the same as the direct casting we've been hoping for, but it's better than nothing at this point.
Google says the new apps will be available "over the next few days."
$599 or €449 for oversized phone with rotating camera and CM support
As expected, the Oppo N1 has today gone on sale in the United States and Europe, where prices for the 16GB model start at $599 and €449 respectively — rising to $649 and €479 for the 32GB version. The latest high-end handset from the Chinese manufacturer, the N1 sports a 5.9-inch 1080p display, a rotating 13-megapixel camera for all your high-res selfie needs, and a 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor with 2GB of RAM. Powering the phone is a capacious 3,610mAh battery.
Connectivity-wise, the N1 includes pentaband HSPA+ support up to 42Mbps as well as Bluetooth, NFC and Wifi Direct — though you'll be missing out on LTE support, putting the device at a significant disadvantage for Western buyers.
The Oppo N1 ships with the manufacturer's ColorOS software, based on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, but buyers will be easily switch to officially-supported CyanogenMod as an alternative OS — that's currently marked as "coming soon" on Oppo's site. (It's not to be confused with the limited run of "CM edition" N1s that run the community firmware out of the box.)
So it's fairly expensive and lacking in connectivity options compared to the competition, but there's no doubt that the N1 is a unique piece of technology. If you're picking one up today, shout out in the comments.
Google Glass actually is a decent little music player. OK, insofar as $1,500 face-mounted wearables go. The official Google Play Music Glassware app was made available on Dec. 2, along with $85 stereo earbuds that plug into Glass' USB port.
Do the math, and that's damned near $1,600 to do what your phone and a $100 pair of headphones could accomplish. But that's not really the point. This is The Future we're talking about here.