10
Dec
af (2)

Just when you thought Google couldn't drop any more Android news today, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra has appeared in the Play Store as a Google Play Edition device. This phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat on a big 6.4-inch screen and will cost you $649.

2013-12-10 13_19_33-Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition - Devices on Google Play

This appears to be the standard Z Ultra, but with a stock Android experience in place of the Sony software. That means not only is it snappy and unencumbered by OEM apps, but it's water and dust-resistant too. This phone does include a few Sony display tweaks not included in other GPE devices, though. Like the other GPE devices, this one is GSM unlocked and completely open. Here's the full spec list:

  • Screen: 6.4-inch, 1920 x 1080, 342ppi
  • CPU: Snapdragon 800 Quad Core, 2.2 GHz
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Size: 179 x 92 x 6.5 mm
  • Weight: 212g
  • Cameras: 8MP with Exmor RS sensor (main), 2MP (front)
  • Storage: 16GB plus microSD
  • Battery: 3000mAh
  • Software: Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Network: GSM/EDGE/GPRS (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), 3G (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz), 4G LTE (700, 850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100, 2600 MHz)

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If you order now, the device will allegedly leave the warehouse in 1-2 days with free shipping. The device should accept your AT&T and T-Mobile SIM cards without any hassle and support full LTE connectivity.

[Sony Xperia Z Ultra Google Play Edition, Sony Mobile]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • FunkyMonkey

    Not available in Canada also... :(
    Google hates us :(

    • Ambroos

      You can always just get a regular Z Ultra and flash the software from the GPE on it. If it's Sony building the final builds it's probably signed by the same keys and switching over your device to the GPE should only take a few seconds.

  • Tony Byatt

    Nice...

    G2 is next...fingers crossed...

    • motoridersd

      Sony had been rumored to be working on a GPE device, they have had AOSP builds for their devices for a long time (not very well mantained, but it's there). I'd love a GPE G2, but, doesn't feel like it would make much sense with the N5 already there.

      • Joris Griffioen

        That could be the Nexus 5 Pro that people want. Too bad it's ugly.

        • motoridersd

          I'm sure it would sell. 13 MP camera and bigger battery would be good.

    • guest

      Keep dreaming if you think a GPE G2 is coming :P

  • GreatNews

    this is HUGE

    • Nathan

      It's pretty big.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/77537273@N03/ Herman

      Are you talking about the news, or the device itself?

      .. Or possibly your mom?

      • GreatNews

        Device but you could chose other stuff for the HUGE part...

      • IlIlIlIlIlIlIl

        Probably your fat ugly girlfriend you douche..actually you might not have one with a name like Herman..loser.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/77537273@N03/ Herman

          Looks like someone can't take a joke.

    • PhoenixPath

      Sure, but dafuq is with the statusbar and navbar? No transparency?

      Someone at El goog needs to be shot. (With a nerf gun, of course...but loaded with nerf darts that have been soaked in foot-sweat)

      • Tuấn Ankh

        eww...

      • jordan

        Only the nexus 5 has transparent statusbar and navbar. The GPE devices and other nexus devices don't. But there is always nova launcher...

  • miri

    Wish it were compatible with Sprint :( I wonder if it could be treated as a tablet and get the free 200MB from T-Mobile...

    • motoridersd

      Hmm. Probably. You should be able to order a SIM from T-Mo and just stick it in the Z Ultra with the proper APN settings.

  • Shitiz Garg

    Suddenly a wild xperia z gpe appears!

  • RealityCheck2013

    Android 4.4 KitKat??? This must mean(HOPEFULLY) that the 'Z1' will get 4.4 (VERY)soon??? I hope so :P

    • Ilia1985

      Fingers crossed for GPE z1 :) or at least fully working 4.4 :D as they both share same internals
      A side from camera hehe

  • TheSparks

    It'll be interesting to see if Google includes some phablet features for the Xperia Z Ultra

  • JonJJon

    Just makes me want a Sony Nexus all the more.

  • Prestidigitator

    I presume that buying this version will not come with the Playstation Mobile app pre-installed? If so, could the app be installed from Sony or otherwise?

  • TY

    Now we have Google Experience devices at 4.7', ~5", 6.4", 7". and 8.3" this year. That's a lot of choices.

    • Danny Holyoake

      Lot of choice for people in the US. There hasn't been a single Google Play Edition device released outside the US yet.

      Google is missing a trick, in my opinion. Purchasing unlocked phones is more common outside the US.

      Also, there's still no choice for small phones. I hope Sony's upcoming Z1S is GPE'd as well.

      • Andrew

        I'm ok with buying gray import. It is slightly more expensive and it virtually impossible to get warranty, but hey, new gadgets!)

      • selonmoi

        Much like NFC payment. They still swipe magnetic stripes in the US.

      • Paul

        A Z1s... a water/dust resistant phone, not too big but with no compromise in the SoC department.. that alone would be a fantastic deal.
        The biggest win would be MORE and FASTER updates, which would also be a great deal on it's own.
        Both deals combined... hell, if they'd surprise me with that a day after i bought another new phone, i'd still get it.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      We're still missing ~4.5", 5.5", and 6" devices for GPE program

  • NSN

    That was.. unnexpected!

    • ssj4Gogeta

      unNexpected?
      I see what you did there.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/77537273@N03/ Herman

        I didnexuspect this to happen.

  • Cesar

    Well, that came out of nowhere. Good job keeping things under wraps, Sony.

    • remister

      Remember Sony had the memo going on internally of not doing anymore leaks. I guess it was quite effective.

  • http://mrmcpowned.com mrmcpowned

    Funny how Sony is a part of the Rockstar Consortium which is suing Google.

  • Slawootsky

    Damn now I know how it feels to read such things in just a few days after ordering a regular edition. Although it's for my relatives, still a pity as I planned to flash AOSP ROM before giving it to them.

    • Joris Griffioen

      If anything the existence of a GPE version will help that. You will be able to flash a Sony built rom which will be much more stable.

      Besides that: I would *never* flash a relative's device.

      • Slawootsky

        Have done it more than once and the results were positive. Bloatware tends to get in the way and disorientate unprepared people who just want to use the device in the learned scenario.

        • Joris Griffioen

          No I agree that stock Android is a much better experience. I've seen it close-up with my girlfriend and her Nexus 10.

          But what I mean is I would never flash aftermarket software on someone else's device. Especially if they don't know how to fix it when it enevitably becomes buggy. It also blocks them from updates. Besides all that: you are creating possible warranty problems.

          You are completely in your right to do whatever you want. Just those are my reasons for showing Nexus devices instead of flashing roms for my relatives. No matter how much I think they're better off with AOSP. ;)

  • Naga Sridhar

    Hopefully this leads to the next nexus phone from Sony!!/wishful thinking!!

    • bob

      I would love a dust/waterproof Sony N5 (2014)

  • duse

    Damn if they keep coming out with all these GPE devices I am going to want to switch phones every few months!

  • fixxmyhead

    Only thing that pisses me off is that it doesn't have a flash. Wtf? Would of been perfect if not for that. Come on almost every phone has a flash these days

    • Tuấn Ankh

      I was gonna say the same. No flash light on a $500+ phone is hilarious.

    • Joris Griffioen

      Flash blows. Not just theoretically, but practically as well. You end up with a bad shot after annoying everybody in the shot to death because they are blind now.

      • Tuấn Ankh

        LED flash exists not only for the purpose of aiming at peoples' eyes. xD

      • Gabernasher

        I use it as a flashlight at night around my house.

  • Scott

    I totally thought it was a tablet and kept wondering why the article was referencing "phone"...

  • Tuấn Ankh

    If I were to get the Z Ultra, I would go to Amazon or Ebay and get one for less than $550. Snap 800 with 2GB of ram would handle non-vanilla-Android just fine anyway. And yea, I'm cheap too.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      Nothing wrong with being cheap, plus you'll get the GPE ROM within days of release anyways.

  • David Li

    still wondering why it does not have a camera flash any why they picked the z ultra not the z1

  • miri

    So it definitely has a tweaked UI: smaller status and nav bars with the nav keys space out, bleached app drawer, tablet-like landscape mode, etc. I wonder if these are exclusive to the Z Ultra or if they'll show up on other devices...

  • Brother Love

    great news but the biggest news of the day is
    "Microsoft FAT patent loss" in the EU which they have been using to squeeze money out of android vendors to boost their profits

    • Guest

      whoa. . .that is big news. Maybe google will think about SD slot again. . . doubtful though.

      thx for the info!!!

  • Stacey Liu

    If it's a brand new device, why the heck doesn't it have GEL? Google said other Nexus devices didn't get it to prevent confusion among users...but this is a whole new phone.

    • miri

      Until further notice, it's officially the "Nexus 5 launcher".

    • Tuấn Ankh

      The Nexus 5 is not a google play edition phone, so it does not have stripped down vanilla Android like this Z Ultra.
      I know that doesn't sound right... xD

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Finally, a high end large device close to a Nexus! This is what I've been waiting for, coming from a Note 3.

    • duse

      Same here, but I'd prefer closer to Note 2 size, like 5.5". 6.4" is simply too big, especially with those insane bezels. I tried a Galaxy Mega in an AT&T store and I felt like I was using a clown phone.

    • sid

      I have always wanted a Note 3 GPE,the ultra is too big.

      • Guest

        a Note 3 GPE would no longer be a Note — all the features that make it a Note would be gone, thus somewhat pointless, though I get you want a larger screened device with high specs. . .

    • kingdazy

      I'm currently on the Note2 (for Sprint), and love the living sh*t outa it. I don't think I can ever go down in screen size...
      The Note3 didn't seem like a Huge upgrade, and that Knox stuff,ugh. pain to root, custom ROMs suck...
      But if I understand correctly, this is GSM only right now?

    • http://mrmcpowned.com mrmcpowned

      YES! A Nexus device with a large screen (and the N5 is large, but I've owned a Dell Streak so 5" is nothing) would be amazing to own. Huge size, awesome specs, a definitively beautiful display, and timely updates all in one package :D

      On an unrelated note, HAPPY 7000th COMMENT!

    • http://www.theandroidsite.com benmarvin

      Note 3 here too. I think the Xperia Z GPE might be my next phone. Still holding out for the N7 with full phone capabilities...I don't care how rediculous I look talking on it.

  • Justin Quang

    I initially set my eyes on this until Sony announced it and... no flash on camera. Then I went with the Mega. Really really wish they have put in a flash. Now I'm even more irritated that there's a GP version. Damn you Sony.

    • Tuấn Ankh

      I'm on a Mega, and I'm still quite happy. xD
      It must be a lot slower than the Xperia Z Ultra in intensive tasks like gaming, but it's not bad at all. But then again, if this Z Ultra had LED flash, I might have gotten one instead of the Mega.

    • DJ SPY

      Are you being serious about this thing having no flash? That is just stupid. Flash so be a no brainer on a camera these days.

  • Mystery Man

    Really hoping that the note 3 sets a trend for 32gb minimum for future flagships

    • guest

      Note 3 really isn't setting the trend, 32 GB cards are just getting so cheap that its possible now that manufacturers will include them as the minimum.

  • Afif

    I'm smelling a Sony nexus phone as Nexus 6 .

    • sad

      Nexus 5 (2014) I hope.... a 5 inch screen is my max. I played with the Moto X a few days ago and missed small form factor phones a bit.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Awww yeah, I can imagine the name - Google Xperia Nexus.. Isn't it badass?

      • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

        Considering they dropped the Xperia name from this, I doubt it.

  • ArclightX

    Holy crap nuts! This is getting out of hand....

    Ryan, Better put in "The Call". Report back when you've discussed matters with Sergei.

  • Scott

    Still waiting for a Moto Nexus.

  • Sandro

    I want a Z1 GPE. Stock Android for my Z1 would be awesome!

  • Sonn

    Love it!! The Sony Z Ultra has been in this picture since the announcement of kitkat. http://www.android.com/phones-and-tablets/ It's a table of pure android devices.

  • Matthew Merrick

    wait.. look at that riptide shot - the nav bar is in landscape. is this phone going to be running the 7" tablet version of android? =O

    • raj

      awesome dude... your observations !!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      I run GEL on my XZU, until today when I did the Google Search update I had trouble getting it to go into landscape on the home screen. After the update it works just fine.

  • Humberto Hernandez

    I can get the Z Ultra for 520$ on Amazon + free shipping, then, flash a GPE ROM on it, and done. Why should i buy it from Google?

  • raj

    they have given up the XPERIA Brand name :( :( :(

    In the Google Play page, it is mentioned as: "Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition"

    Moreover, the XPERIA Brand name is not present on the backside of the mobile.
    The XPERIA brand name is supposed to appear on the lower backside :( :( :(

    • PeanutButterChicken

      It doesn't have the Xperia skin, it's not an Xperia.

      • raj

        Dude
        Even I thought the same way
        But Galaxy S4 is still a Galaxy

        • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

          Well duh, how did you want Sammy to call it? Samsung S4 Google Play Edition?

          • raj

            going by the Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition logic, hell yeah !!

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      If that's what it takes for them to do a GPE then ef it. Call it whatever they want, I'll take two!

  • Assef

    I want the Xperia Z1 Google Play Edition, this one would be a incredible device, super powerful, resistant, beauty, and updated...

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    So it's either one XZU or two N7 2013's... Hmmm

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      One N7 for each hand!