$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

 
There are 126 comments

Oh please more Sony GPE devices! This is great. Too bad the Z Ultra is so large.

radyoactive says:

Too bad it's not on Verizon

z0phi3l says:

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 ;)

paulviado420 says:

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.

bpear96 says:

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.

DarkMx2000 says:

Yeah it is that is one BEAST! of a phone :)

Holy crap! I thought it a tablet at first!

PZR18 says:

Where is the HTC One Max google play edition?

Posted from My GNote 2 via AC App

speculatrix says:

Huh?
That's the whole point of it.
That's like looking at an Airbus A380 and complaining it's too big.

cjbrigol says:

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.

travaz says:

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.

speculatrix says:

I sold my note 2 and got an Xperia Z U.

Now a note seems quite small!

No region locking stupidity from Sony.

Grahaman27 says:

$649...

swagsaunders says:

You don't think it's worth that much?!

Posted via Android Central App

MERCDROID says:

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

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

floriyann says:

+1000000

Posted via Android Central App

coolbreeze78 says:

More like 6.4"...

8-|

murdomeek says:

yeah cheap i know right? ;)

someguy01234 says:

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.

BldyIdt says:

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

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

Do you know how much the Xperia Z Ultra costs in Brazil?
About US$ 1,000, factory unlocked.

speculatrix says:

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.

This flood of GPE devices is exciting? Any more today? Moto X?

"Moto X GPe"

Wat?

bleached says:

The Moto X GPe wouldn't be any different so it is kinda pointless.

Posted via Android Central App

Not pointless to people in countries where they can't purchase from the Motorola website.

blazer236ix says:

You can just ask for the Moto x to be international then.

MERCDROID says:

We've been asking for that, since it debuted, lol.

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

Or a GPe Moto X... that would work too. For the right price I would buy one. That being said it is unlikely.

jedah says:

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?

TheMimic12 says:

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

"everything that makes the phone special is gone"
Isn't that true for any GPe device?

Wintersdark says:

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.

Software isn't what makes the Note line special..... saywhaaaaaaaat?

NoNexus says:

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

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

MERCDROID says:

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

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

ConTejas says:

Guy clearly doesn't have a clue what he's talking about...

Ry says:

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.

Moto X not G. I know what you are saying, but I would contemplate buying a GPe Motox.

Ry says:

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.

z0phi3l says:

The X and G are already essentially GPE devices, just don't have the branding

ConTejas says:

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.

Ry says:

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

iLikeVega says:

What is GPe?

Posted via Android Central App

iLikeVega says:

Google Play edition

Posted via Android Central App

iLikeVega says:

OK Thanks

Posted via Android Central App

PZR18 says:

Where is the HTC One Max google play edition?

Posted from My GNote 2 via AC App

eszklar says:

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??

speculatrix says:

Go see xda developers, people have already got the source from Sony and are working on it new.

i wonder if we get an Asus transformer GPe......

MERCDROID says:

Nobody was expecting this today. So, you never know.

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

stab244 says:

Oh please yes.

Posted via Android Central App

MERCDROID says:

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

swagsaunders says:

Agreed!!!

Posted via Android Central App

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

MERCDROID says:

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

NoNexus says:

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

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

MERCDROID says:

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

NoNexus says:

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

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

Have to agree with you here.

magnusum says:

Where is the Z1 GPe ?

Posted via Android Central App

I know, the Z1 I may have actually jumped on.

Amir47 says:

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

angryGTS says:

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.

MERCDROID says:

Agreed.

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

TheMimic12 says:

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

havanahjoe says:

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

Amir47 says:

and that supports all AT&T and T-Mo bands?

Thermalx says:

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.

NoNexus says:

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

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

MERCDROID says:

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

NoNexus says:

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.

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

MERCDROID says:

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

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

kelayz says:

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

NoNexus says:

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

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

Chanlion says:

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.

TheMimic12 says:

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

TomW093 says:

May have considered if it had a camera flash.

MERCDROID says:

Agreed...

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

TomW093 says:

Maybe next year...

MERCDROID says:

I'll keep telling myself that, lol.

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

outlooker says:

The screen resolution is terrible though. 720p on a screen thus big is not good for a phone.

NoNexus says:

The AC hands on says it is 1080p

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

coolbreeze78 says:

?

Screen
6.4" diagonal
1920 x 1080, 342ppi

https://play.google.com/store/devices/details?id=sony_z_ultra

Scroll down to specs

TheLegoman says:

It's 1080p as per the specs sheet. What are you talking about?

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

That's what I got

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

Qwkslvrmz says:

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

TheMimic12 says:

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

Posted via Android Central App

hpham72 says:

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?

betsuni says:

The US Store has the Ultra LTE version for sale.

http://store.sony.com/xperia-z-ultra-lte-zid27-XZUC6806//cat-27-catid-Al...

hpham72 says:

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?

havanahjoe says:

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.

TheMimic12 says:

Please let there be a Sony Xperia z1 Google play edition coming.

Posted via Android Central App

sequoia462 says:

This is beyond a phablet. It's a small tablet with phone capabilities. 0.6' more and it's a 7' tablet.

thatguy97 says:

A lot of GPEs this year

Sent from my Nexus 7 2013

The more the merrier!

mathiasjk says:

Great, now make them available outside the US.

speculatrix says:

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

jdbii says:

Simply outstanding to have more choices. Long live GPe's!!!

Chanlion says:

Do they have somthing bigger? Actual seriousness.

Can't tell if actual seriousness is actually serious.

MERCDROID says:

(mindblown)

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

speculatrix says:

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.

Mobius360 says:

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+

kingjames924 says:

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.

MERCDROID says:

I endorse this request.

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

hpham72 says:

+1!

NoNexus says:

Iamokwiththis. Jpg

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

+1.... Multiplied by 9000.

Posted via Android Central App

neonworm says:

This is a great idea.

Troneas says:

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.

hpham72 says:

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.

rawpower87 says:

Man this is awesome

Posted via my Galaxy S 4 Google Edition

Amir47 says:

Holding out for a Z1 GPe edition

ultravisitor says:

That is just ridiculously gigantic.

MrBucket85 says:

Is it just me or does this make anyone else wish Sony would make a 7" or 8" Xperia tablet?

Duncan1982 says:

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

NoNexus says:

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

----------------------------------------------------
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.

Duncan1982 says:

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

korab84 says:

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.

Thats waaaay too pricey

Posted via Android Central App

DataHawg says:

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

kcz7 says:

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 ;).

I thought I really wanted this... But I love the xperia UI

Posted via Android Central App

If only it was the Xperia Z1, instead of the Ultra...