Z Ultra GPe

GPe Sony Z Ultra and LG G Pad 8.3 ditch 'Gallery' in favor of G+ 'Photos' app

We suspected it was coming ever since we powered on the Nexus 5 to find both "Gallery" and "Photos" occupying the app drawer. And now the inevitable has come to pass — the stock Android "Gallery" app has been phased out in the new Google Play edition Sony Z Ultra and LG G Pad 8.3, having been completely replaced by the new Google+-based Photos app.

It's a curious move given that the Nexus 5 shipped with a new Gallery app just over a month ago, and that Google highlighted a bunch of new editing features in that app as part of the 4.4 release. That said, the writing was clearly on the wall when Nexus Camera app was integrated with "Photos," not "Gallery" in the recent Android 4.4.1 update. The move also raises the possibility that future Nexus devices will follow this lead, though precedent suggests that "Gallery" will remain on devices that currently have it.

The elimination of "Gallery" means the new Google Play edition devices will have to make do without the comprehensive photo editing features found in the app. "Photos" offers some editing options, such as filters and frames, but nothing as full-featured as its rival. We're willing to bet these capabilities — including exposure, contrast and curves sliders, among many others — will be patched into "Photos" at some point in the near future, completing the transition from Gallery to Photos.

In any case, it's another example of the expanding reach of Google+ across all the various Google properties. And that could be seen as a good or a bad thing depending on your opinion of Google's social network.