By Alexandra Burlacu | Dec 11, 2013 09:26 AM EST
The Sony Xperia Z Ultra smartphone just got a Google Play Edition version, launching with stock Android for $649.00.
Google Play Editions (GPE) of popular devices seem to be a growing trend. The Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One already went GPE a while back, and are now enjoying the latest Android 4.4 KitKat. Google also launched the very first GPE tablet - the LG G Pad 8.3, running stock Android 4.4. The tablet was actually expected to launch as the much-rumored Nexus 8 when it first surfaced with the model number LG V510, but turned out to be a Google Play version instead.
With the Google Play trend on the rise, a Sony Xperia Z Ultra Google Play Edition is now available as well. As with all GPE devices, the specifications remain the same, but the smartphone now comes with stock Android, without all of the manufacturer's software customizations.
The Sony Xperia Z Ultra made its debut earlier this year, boasting some neat specs and features. The device sports a massive 6.4-inch HD Triluminos display with X-Reality for mobile engine, and packs a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor under the hood. Other highlights include 4G LTE, NFC, as well as IP55 and IP58 certification, which makes it not only dust-resistant, but also waterproof.
The Google Play Edition of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra packs the exact same hardware inside, as the only difference is in the software department. This model comes with Android 4.4 KitKat pre-installed, and will get any other update in a timely manner. Google Play Edition devices mirror the "Nexus experience," which means they are further up the line whenever Google releases a new Android OS update.
If a new version of Android is out, it will first roll out to Nexus devices, then GPE devices, and only later to other hardware.
The Sony Xperia Z Ultra Google Play Edition is already available for purchase in the U.S. for $649 through the Google Play store. It remains unclear at this point when this model will become available in other markets, but it shouldn't take too long.