Google adds stock Android smartphones, tablets, and accessories to the Play Store.
Hot on the heels of adding the LG G Pad to the Google Play Store earlier this week, Google has stocked the store with more hardware treats for gift buyers.
First, a new smartphone joins the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 Play Edition handsets. Google is now offering a Play Edition version of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. The Z Ultra, which Sony announced in June, is one of the largest phablets available, with a full HD screen measuring 6.4 inches across the diagonal. Sony says the display has Triluminos technology to improve colors and Sony's mobile Bravia Engine and X-Reality technology for sharpness and clarity.
The Z Ultra is water resistant (up to 30 minutes at a depth of three meters) and has a slim design at just 6.5-mm thick. It is powered by a 2.2-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and supports HD voice with Sony's ClearAudio+ mode and Xloud volume features. The Z Ultra supports a stylus, though it doesn't come with one, and has handwriting recognition software.
The Z Ultra features an 8-megapixel camera with Sony's Exmor RS sensor, which supports HDR photos and video, as well as a 2-megapixel user-facing camera for video chats. The phone has a 3,000-mAh battery, 16 GB of storage with support for 64-GB microSD cards, and connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and LTE (AT&T/T-Mobile).
The Z Ultra does lose a lot of the innovative Sony software, such as its Walkman app, Sony Unlimited content store, and Sony's Enhanced Auto camera mode and Smart Stamina power management. For these trade-offs, users get a stock version of Android 4.4. KitKat and more frequent OS-level updates from Google. The Play Edition Sony Xperia Z Ultra costs $649 and is sold unlocked and contract-free.
Google Play's white Nexus 7.
Google also added a white version of the Nexus 7 tablet. The white model comes in only one variant, with WiFi and 32 GB of storage. It is not being offered with LTE. Other than the color, it has all the same specs as the black model. It costs $269.
The Play Store now offers a folio cover for the Nexus 7. The folio cover protects the screen and folds back to create a stand for Google's smaller tablet. The folio cover costs $49.99 and comes in either black or red.
Last, Google recently added a wireless charging pad to the Play Store that is compatible with both the Nexus 5 smartphone and Nexus 7 tablet. The pad lets Nexus 5 and 7 owners charge a device by simply placing it on the pad, rather than plugging the phone in. The wireless charging pad cost $49.99.
Eric Zeman is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies.
Consumerization 1.0 was "we don't need IT." Today we need IT to bridge the gap between consumer and business tech. Also in the Consumerization 2.0 issue of InformationWeek: Stop worrying about the role of the CIO. (Free registration required.)
InformationWeek Elite 100Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Building a Mobile Business MindsetAmong 688 respondents to our Mobile Application Development Survey ó up from 350 respondents in 2012 ó 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Whatís the holdup for that remaining 30%? Often, itís a lack of expertise.
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial ServicesIT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of September 18, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."