Google officially pulled the HTC One M7, Galaxy S4, Xperia Z Ultra, and LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition devices from the Play Store not too long ago. Since then we've seen a couple of them pop up on sale across various distributors. When an eBay seller offered the Galaxy S4 for $499 ($150 off) last month, we considered that a deal. Before that, Expansys USA offered the Z Ultra for the low price of $349, $100 less than what Google last asked for it.
The Xperia Z2 Tablet isn't the most high-profile tablet around, but there are more than a few fans of Sony's unique industrial design. Combine that with the company's unlocked hardware (at least for non-carrier versions), and you've got a perfect candidate for custom ROMs. The CyanogenMod team has started publishing nightly releases for the Z2 Tablet, in both its Wi-Fi (castor) and unlocked GSM (castor_windy) flavors. The first nightly build is available for download now.
Google officially pulled the Xperia Z Ultra GPE from the Play Store a few days ago, but it looks like stock wasn't completely gone. The device has shown up on Expansys USA for just $349.99. That's $100 less than Google's last price for it. We don't know how long it's going to last, but Expansys says it has more then 100 in stock right now.
Tablets that aren't iPads don't sell well on US carriers, probably because no one is all that keen on paying an extra monthly fee in order to use them and/or sharing a limited amount of data. (3G and LTE tablets are much more popular overseas.) So there's really no point in pre-ordering a tablet from a carrier, unless you absolutely have to have it on day one. If that's the case for the Xperia Z2 Tablet, let your fingers do the walking over to Verizon's website.
The Xperia Z2 Tablet is just about ready to hit the US, and as expected, it's coming as a Verizon exclusive. The carrier will part with the tablet for $599.99, though for a limited time, it's willing to let go of one for $499.99 with a new two-year contract (how nice of them, right?). Pre-orders are going up tomorrow, with the tablet becoming available for purchase in stores and online July 17th.
Last month, we reported that the Xperia Z Ultra, LG G Pad 8.3, HTC One M7, and Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition devices were all appearing as out of stock on the Play Store for several weeks. Today, Google officially removed the Z Ultra, G Pad, and M7 from the Play Store, and they no longer appear under the Google Play Edition devices section.
The remaining three phones are the One M8, Moto G, and Galaxy S4.
Sony is boasting its new Xperia C3 as the best smartphone for taking selfies thanks to its wide-angle 5MP front-facing "PROselfie" camera, soft LED flash, and a set of quirky apps. Hey, scoff all you want, but this is a big deal. Selfie is a real word now, and if I have to write about the subject seriously, the least you can do is read this with a straight face.
Now where was I?
Outside of Google, it looks like Sony is the first company to start pushing 4.4.4 to its devices, beginning with the Z1, Z1 Compact, and Z Ultra. While it's only a very minor update, it still says something about Sony's drive to push timely updates that it's the first to get 4.4.4 out the door to consumer devices.
Included in this software
There are many improvements in this upgrade for your Xperia™ smartphone, some examples are:
- Android 4.4.4 including the latest enhancements and security updates from Google
- Updated and improved camera experience
- Improvements when using Google voice, Contacts, Music streaming and Google+
- The latest versions of our Sony apps for you to enjoy
- All of our latest bug fixes, optimisations & improvements
The update is currently only rolling out in Europe, but it will likely follow in other regions fairly soon.
Update 3: Live on YouTube is back, more than two weeks after it debuted and almost immediately vanished. The description still says it's only for the Xperia Z2, but we have no way of confirming that, so your mileage may vary.
Update 2: ...aaaaaaand it's gone.
Update: Commenters who own the Xperia Z2 and Xperia Tablet Z2, as well as the previous-generation Z1, have said that their phones are listed as incompatible.
Sony announced at the Symposium on VLSI Technology that it is trying to improve the functionality and light capture of CMOS sensors by bending them, using - get ready - a proprietary "bending machine." So far, their efforts sound successful. The manufacturer has created a pair of curved CMOS sensors, one sized for cameras (43mm) and one for mobile devices (11mm), that they say have improved sensitivity 1.4x at the center of the sensor, and 2x at the edges.