$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.

More: Sony announcement

 

Reader comments

Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition announced, available now

126 Comments

Verizon is a horrible company, they aren't getting good Google devices because htey sauck and ruined the Nexus S, get on a real provider

I'm quite sure everything in the above statement is entirely false, or at the very least, misspelled.

The carrier with the most wide-spread coverage, and largest LTE network doesn't qualify as a "real provider?" You've completely missed the point behind the despise for Verizon, buddy. And I can assure you Verizon did not ruin the Nexus S ;)

nexus S?? i did not know the nexus s was on verizon, you should really check your facts before you post..nexus s was NEVER on verizon.

Just a small mistake, he meant Galaxy Nexus. Which Verizon did mess with alot. Easily unlockable bootloader and stable AOSP roms made it ok though.

This is super exciting...first thing I've considered dropping my Note 2 for...I just can't justify spending that on a phone right now...or ever. I'd rather buy some stocks haha.

It is very cool. I just wonder where Motorola is? They are bringing on all kinds of manufactures when they own a company that makes great phones. kind of curious to me.

No, he's saying that he won't spend that much, which is understandable.

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

I'm tired of people who complained about cost of flagship devices just because they can get the Nexus cheaper. Phones has always cost this much.

Nope. Thirty years ago, they cost around $10K :p

Yeah, people want more for less, and it's not going to stop.

It's the stupid subsidy business model in the USA that makes people think their phones are cheap or free.
They just can't do basic sums and multiply their monthly bills by 24.

Does it work to buy one unlocked from Motorola like T-Mobile customers have to do (I think the model no. is XT1053)? Or are international users blocked from buying it from Motorola?

The moto x doesn't need one. Its software is almost exactly vanilla, and everything that makes the phone special is gone

Posted via Android Central App

No. The software isn't what makes a Note, Xperia or whatever else special. If anything, the OEM skins are largely trash better stripped out and replaced by better custom software.

The Moto X is unique here, in that it's software stack actually offers awesome software that works alongside it's hardware to deliver extremely good battery life and truly hands-free use (as opposed to "press this button then talk" crap).

There are custom versions of some aspects of the Moto X's software, but lacking the X's underlying hardware support they simply don't work as well.

Finally, unlike the OEM skins, Motorola doesn't pollute the rest of Android with cruft: It's just adding features onto regular Android.

Yeah I stopped reading there. Especially when he mentioned the Note series.

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So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

Yeah, that makes no sense. The software is the entire reason for the Note's existence.

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

Exactly. If you want to see what a Moto X GPe would look like, take the Moto G and disable Motorola Assist for sleep/meetings, replace the Motorola camera with the Android default camera, and never use Trusted Bluetooth.

I meant Moto G, not Moto X. I'd have to list out more stuff to disable if I used the Moto X as the example.

With Motorola, GPe variants aren't necessary.

No they're f*cking NOT. It would be running AOSP which the Moto X most certainly doesn't run. A GE Moto X would be by FAR the worst GPE. It's custom software is the only compelling thing about the device sans moto maker/form factor.

If Gallery is replaced by the Google+ Photos app on GPe devices, are they still running AOSP?

US only? Pity I'm in Canada. I wonder if there will be a GPe ROM for the International unlocked Z Ultra I can get for $750 CDN at the Sony Store Canada.

And on that note: potential AC giveaway contender??

SLAP ME AND TAKE MY MONEY!!! I gotta get some money first, lol.

I'm tempted to buy this. I know I shouldn't, but the hardware was already top notch. Stock software plus Sony hardware equals Win.

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

This is the phone with no camera flash. This may or may not matter to you. It would bother me because I use my flash as a flashlight almost everyday.

Posted via Android Central App

Oh shit. That's right, lol. Thanks for reminding me, brother. In my excitement, I completely forgot that part.

...DAMNIT, Sony!! Why you no flash!?

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

That and being limited to gsm were the two biggest reasons to not like this phone.

Throw in big phone with nothing to take advantage of the bigness (spen) and I would skip it.

Still very nice though. I wouldn't kick it out of bed after a few beers

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So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

Yeah, at least, with the Nexus 5, I could switch to Sprint if I wanted or needed to.

As for the lack of a dedicated pen, I do still find it cool that you can use pretty much any pen as a stylus. But, it does suffer from lack of any dedicated apps to support that functionality.

Lol, I'd kick it out of bed as soon as I couldn't turn the flashlight on.

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

Lol yeah. Thinking about it, I do use it a lot. Damn dogs hiding in the upper yard....

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So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

yeah I would have returned my G2 in a heartbeat and ride out my contract till january and then switch to AT&T with the GPe Z1

Too bad its not the Z1 included as well as a GPe device….I was tempted to get the Z Ultra but the camera is a bit lacking.

It would be nice if they included the LTE support the z ultra has in the us z1, but if there were a Google play edition, I would settle for 3g/HSPA+

Posted via Android Central App

T-Mobile was supposed to start selling the Z1 in the US, and that's why Sony doesn't sell it, but it's taking them forever. Meanwhile, the LTE compatible version (C6906) can be found on eBay

I don't want any of these new devices, but yeah, this is very exciting and a very good thing. I'm all for anything that decouples carriers from phones.

Yeah but the feature set is suffering which is not good.

Soon we will have 90 different Android iPhones. Nothing to separate any of them.

Complain about skins all you want, but it helps make Android unique. You can pretty much buy a phone that does what you want, not some cookie cutter phone with minor spec bumps here and there.

Make the skins modular and the base gpe. Update things separately. Then I will get excited

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So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

That's a damn good suggestion. Sadly, your average consumer would take that as the device not being ready out-of-the-box, and balk at the idea of having to download their favorite "skin," even if the process was seamless.

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

No it is skinned by default. Just separated at the different layers.

OS is pure
presentation layer is touchwiz

Both get updated just like an app

And those that insist on vanilla can change it in settings.

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So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

Oh ok, that makes sense. I like that idea. Maybe it'll come to fruition.

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

True but launchers exist and any Google play edition phone can run a launcher of any kind just fine so. Yea.

Posted via Android Central App

Touchwiz, sense, whatever are not just launchers. The apps underneath are a part of it (smart stay, blink feed, active notifications)

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So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

I don't care too much about the skins but I do have to agree on not being ready out of the box.
I own an N4 and the fact that there wasn't anything except the basics made things fairly difficult to get into. Other manufactures, HTC, LG, even other platforms, Blackberry 10, Windows phone have the basic features apps installed in. And it's helpful so you don't have to go into Play find one that actually works. It's super confusing and takes time to find one that's trustworthy. I've went through 20 NFC apps and still haven't found a perfect one.
A Z series, One, Xperia works out of the box.

There's so many features you need in say, business, (I work in that) that you can't possibly remember all of them and forget to download them. You won't realize until you need them. And that's much too late.

I'm above your average consumer too. But it's a balanced argument here. I wold love a Play or dev edition but I probably won't have time to set it up. This is just a telling of experience.

My gosh, man, you're right. If the skins were decoupled from the os, android purists like myself get vanilla Android if we want it, and hardware manufacturers get control over their skins/launchers, especially if done via the play store.

Posted via Android Central App

The AC hands on says it is 1080p

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So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

That's what I got

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So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

I really like that manufacturers are getting in on making phones that aren't tied to any network and not loaded with their software.. More choices and power to us is a good thing!! Here's to Android and the freedom of choice!!!

Posted via Android Central App

Sony has been doing it for a while. They sell a lot of their phones unlocked online

Posted via Android Central App

This is a great thing. What Sony does that's perplexing though is to not make available good options in their online store. For example, this GPE Ultra has LTE support. The Ultra on Sony's online store does not. How does that make any sense?

Woops. My bad. Thanks for pointing that out. Did I miss this or did they just add it? This makes me wonder. Which would be better to get then because I believe the Sony version of the Ultra has software to make use of the pen feature?

I think they've always had it. It's the Z1 that hasn't been available with LTE on their store. Unlocked Sony phones come with an unlockable bootloader, so in theory, at some point, the Sony Z LTE could be turned into a GPE version.

Xperia Z U available in Europe for quite a while.
Go to clove and you can order one toda, they ship internationally.

Well, you can buy the nexus 7 with 3G and LTE.

I'm not sure if it has microphone and speaker.

Then some of the galaxy tab 3G/LTE models will definitely act as phones.

I could only imagine how the Z1 would be received as a GPe device. Great job though Sony on getting this out there.

Posted via G2+

All this Google Play edition stuff......

Larry Page, we're gonna need a Nexus/Google Play Brick and Mortar Store, and put it right across from every Apple Store please.

Iamokwiththis. Jpg

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So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

am i the only one to see just how ridiculous that "phone" looks in the hand? soon these phones will ship with handbags to carry them around.

Now that I often carry a man-purse, er, messenger bag, to hold my 13" ultrabook and an iPad mini, this size phone starts to make more sense.

Having the Mega i can safely say it is a huge device and the experia is slightly larger by .1 of an inch. Although i personally had no problem operating single handed well almost lol.

Its the finding a pocket big enough to conceal & accomadate such a large device that presents a problem.

Posted via Android Central App

Is that a Mega in your pocket or....

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My phone can beat up your phone. It's bigger, badder and has more moves. If worse comes to worse, it also comes with a sword.

Hahaha yup something like that lol the Mega takes some getting used to and although i didnt care about using it as the intended purpose well it is a phone. It does appear a bit daft holding it to your ear.

It now serves as a tablet/back up device should the unfortunate happen to my note 3.

I think personally that the Note 3 is the happy medium tbh anything bigger and it does only serve as a tablet.

Posted via Android Central App

This device comes with 16GB HDD but it has an expandable microSD slot which probably takes up to 640GB or more. So it has more storage capabilities than the Nexus 5 and that's probably the retail price of the phone.

I didn't see this coming at all. I would not buy one but glad to see Sony selling a GPE

Posted via Android Central App

Just a tad bit late to the party there Z Ultra. I've been eyeing that phone since it's release in June/July. I was rock'n the Note 2 but was highly unsatisfied with Samsung and their update process. I bought a N5 Day 1 and welcomed the fast and fresh updates (like yesterday when I read about 4.4.2 then got home from work and BOOM there it was to DL & install). Now.... NOW there's a GPE of my fantasy phone?!?! Oh well. Although the price isn't a factor (IMO), the hardware is old news come next month at CES. Also, that phone has been out half a year already. Maybe in 2014 they'll put out a GPE phone (or a Nexus in due time) with a 6.4+" screen and a SD805. We'll see next month ;).