While the Nexus elite have since moved on to KitKat, there are still a lot of devices just getting by with some flavor of Jelly Bean. At least Sony is keeping its promise of updating devices to the latest version of that sweet-themed platform. Android 4.3 is beginning to make its way to the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, And Xperia Tablet Z.
In addition to things like stock Android and being carrier-unlocked, one of the big features of Nexus and Google Play Edition devices that Android power users love is an easily unlockable bootloader. While OEMs and carriers often make a policy of locking their devices' bootloaders to prevent installation of unauthorized software, Google makes it very easy for us to tinker with devices bearing its brand. All you really need to unlock a Google device is a tool called "fastboot," which is made available through the Android SDK.
In case you haven't been paying attention, there has been a storm of Android 4.4.2 updates for Google Play Edition devices over the past few days. It started Friday with the HTC One and Galaxy S4, and continued yesterday with the G Pad 8.3. Now, it's time for Sony Z Ultra GPE owners to get in on the action. The OTA weighs in at hefty 444 MB and, like all other recent GPE updates, will bring the phone up to date with current Nexus devices at Android 4.4.2/KOT49H.
As soon as the first orders for the Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition began arriving at users' doors, the bug reports started rolling in. While this always happen with a new handset, two of the issues quickly emerged as critical. To be more specific:
It's been a busy week or two for Sony fans. First we get a Google Play Edition of the Z Ultra, then the AOSP On Xperia project expands to the low-cost Xperia L, and now owners of Sony's high-end phones are starting to get their long-awaited Jelly Bean 4.3 updates. According to this Sony blog update, both the Xperia Z1 and the enormous Z Ultra should be getting the over-the-air update starting today, at least for unlocked versions.
Earlier this week, Google rather unexpectedly announced two brand-new Google Play Experience devices (for the US only, of course) - the LG G Pad 8.3 and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. The G Pad 8.3 will set you back $350, while the Z Ultra is $650, though both devices rather undeniably fill niches in the Google device ecosystem. The G Pad acts as a mid-size tablet, a la iPad Mini, something a lot of enthusiasts have been asking Google to build for years now.
When Sony released the Xperia Tablet Z back in May, it turned out to be a surprisingly good tablet. Only six months have passed since then, and while numerous alternatives have come out in that time, it's still a solid piece of hardware. Now, listen close. If you don't have any qualms about using pre-owned hardware, you may be pleased to know that you can currently get this 10-inch tablet for just $235, a price that is significantly lower than its $499 launch price and only marginally more expensive than a Nexus 7.
Hot on the heels of releasing a Google Play Edition of the enormous Xperia Z Ultra, Sony is once again pleasing fans of "clean" Android by expanding the AOSP For Xperia Project. The latest device to get a semi-official AOSP option is the Xperia L, one of the cheapest devices in the company's 2013 lineup.
Though the 4.3" screen and 1Ghz dual-core processor on the Xperia L aren't likely to make it an object of desire for hardware junkies, developers and enthusiasts now have the option of running a completely stock version of Android 4.4.
These aren't the first USB flash drives we've seen that double as detachable storage for Android devices - that honor goes to the Leef Bridge from way back in June. But darn it if Sony's new 2-in-1 flash drives aren't a whole lot slicker, combining MicroUSB and standard USB 2.0 plugs into a tiny package. From the single press image, it looks like the entire device is barely bigger than the two plugs put together.