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  • Drumsticks - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    Oh that White Nexus 7 is nice... if it was the same kind of feel as the black I'd be tempted. Reply
  • Flunk - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    If it's anything close to the feel of the white Nexus 5 it will be nice, but different. Reply
  • blanarahul - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    Xperia Z Ultra Googlified would be really interesting as I hate Sony UI. Reply
  • arashi - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    As a user of the Z Ultra, I find Sony's UI embellishments on Android extremely minimal. Reply
  • T2k - Monday, December 16, 2013 - link

    I agree. Reply
  • hrrmph - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    Intriguing phablet indeed... but once you head out into the suburbs and rural areas outside of the good ole USA, you will likely find the Google Play edition of the Z Ultra useless...

    ...at least for 3G data and voice. Thus the lack of 3G GSM is appalling on this otherwise very capable device.

    So how did it get so effed up? One word: Telecoms.

    More specifically US telecoms enabled to engage in 18th Century styled business practices by a weak FCC and vapid legislature. Edison and rivals fought over electricity standards for decades before we decided on 110V while everyone else decided on 220/240V.

    So history repeats itself. The Rest-Of-The-World (ROTW) - you know, the part that doesn't occupy our 2.2% of the surface of the Earth - doesn't use CDMA bands.

    The ROTW (I'm guessing that would be about 97.8% of the surface of the Earth, or pretty close to it) uses GSM for 3G. 3G is what your phone 'bumps' down to when it cannot get a strong enough 4G signal. 3G is the most common signal actually experienced by most people - that is, when they aren't relegated to 2G.

    The ROTW does have super-fast 4G-LTE in the cities of course. But, nowhere in the world has complete 4G coverage of suburbia and the minor cities... not even the US and other industrial powers.

    So while you can comfortably travel on 3G GSM (with most phones that *aren't* sold by a US telecom) all the way across the US (thanks to AT&T and T-Mobile's good decisions to deploy reasonably open and standardized 3G GSM networks), then continue across the Pond, through the UK, down and across through Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Asia, Pacific, and back home again... if you buy a phone that has 3G GSM radios...

    ... And you will go nowhere far or near with CDMA... at least outside the borders of that good ole 2by2 spot of land that we occupy on the gorgeous shell of this great blue orb.

    To whit: get in a boat and go a mere few tens of miles offshore of the US with CDMA and you are 'dead-in-the-water,' so to speak. Unless neighboring island nations were silly enough to follow in our footsteps and install CDMA (don't count on it).

    So once again our telecoms (primarily Verizon and Sprint, along with a few minor players) have royally shafted us with their works-no-where-else but on their locked overpriced overhyped networks.

    You know... the ones which control our mortgaged / enslaved mutant versions of the manufacturers' otherwise well-made phones and tablets.

    Now thanks to Brian's helpful listing of the bands included on this variant of the Ultra Z, we can see that even the nominally neutral Google Play versions of some of these Asian manufactured devices are getting effed up by deference to this madness. This is all because our telecoms couldn't play by the international rules of reality (as in interoperability *is* an important parameter to be respected) and now their unwanted influence is skewing the configuration of devices sold here. For what?

    Heck, even Papua New Guinea's cell system is sometimes operative and it works with 'normal' GSM phones. I can tell you from personal experience that those beautiful jungle mountains are about as close to anarchy and lawlessness as any place I've ever imagined being in. But, my phones worked there... and in dozens upon dozens of other places over the past decade or so.

    For more info, Sascha Segan has an excellent article over at PCMag about this miserable situation. He reports that this is predicted to last at least until the year 2020 in the US. He details how Sprint is even trying to mess up the standardization of the 4G telecom system by going with non-standard equipment and phones that won't work anywhere else, but on Sprint of course.

    My only objection to Sascha's article isn't really his fault: he repeats a misnomer that has become widespread in that he refers to GSM phones as 'Worldphones.' To the ROTW they are the default 'standard' phones. To just about everybody worldwide, they don't know what a CDMA phone is and we're the people holding the one-off weirdo phones that don't work properly.

    So if you have any hopes and dreams of using your passport and your phone at the same time and place, then do as I always have: buy unlocked, never buy from a telecom, and never buy mortgaged / contracted. Contracts are a disease - you'll start getting better as soon as you liquidate them (as in better quality product at better prices).

    Never buy anything without 3G-GSM-Quad Band. Yes, really! All it takes is 4 bands to reliably cover the world, including the USA, at 3G speeds. And lately, do buy phones that offer 4G bands in the areas that you frequent the most - for most reading this, the good ole USA. There are phones out there that do all of this - good 4G-LTE coverage in the US and as close to ubiquitous 3G GSM coverage as you will find with any system. You might even find some that add 2G CDMA radios for when we just have to be... well, different.

    As Brian mentioned, the Google Play Ultra Z got the 4G bands right for US coverage. What he didn't mention is that the 3G bands are very restrictive if you hope for your phone to work outside the US.

    Why Google / Sony didn't do better with this fascinating phablet is a mystery.

    I hope that someday, AnandTech will dive deeper into this subject and find out what is really going on with the telecoms in the US.

    Is it really physics? Is there really a scientific reason why we cannot have what so much of the world already has in terms of reliable seamless 3G coverage?

    Is 4G in the US really doomed to be another non-standardized mish-mash of incompatible technologies?
    Reply
  • hrrmph - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    UPDATE

    Good news: Google Play reports the presence of all 4 GSM bands (GSM/EDGE/GPRS (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)...

    ...as it should be :0
    Reply
  • fellabusta - Thursday, December 12, 2013 - link

    I cant believe you wrote out a frickin wall-of-text essay on something you simply missed the details of. Ha Reply
  • mikeru - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    dude it says WCDMA right there Reply
  • jjj - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    Just the other day Newegg had the G Pad at 280$ and that was almost not crazy. Too bad this version is still an absurd 350$. At this rate Android will allow windows to accelerate it's growth and take a serious chunk of the market. Google really needs to push prices down on above 7 inch tablets ,they already lost a lot of time on the tablet front and they always seem to be behind the curve.When Windows devices with more NAND and not free software are cheaper than Android devices something is off. Ofc one major problem for Google is that most tablet makers are also PC makers so they don't really care about pushing Android - Google here should go with phone makers for Nexus tablets above 7 inch and push prices for very good 10 inch tablets at 300$. Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    I think Amazon had it even cheaper at $260... That being said, I don't see what's so absurd about the $350 price point for a larger tablet with removable storage (specially since it isn't a Nexus so it doesn't benefit from Google's marketing dollars).

    Still cheaper than an iPad mini or almost any larger tablet, with a few exceptions (ASUS TF101? same price but comes with dock/Office). Regardless, your beef is with LG, not Google. LG decided the original model would sell for $350...

    If you're talking about the price of the nexus 10, I'd have to agree... No tablet running a mobile OS is worth more than $350 IMO. I was saying it two years ago and it's truer today with the price point some Atom stuff is hitting.

    Only reason I bought a tablet back then was Staple's $100 off deal on the OG $399 Transformer, otherwise my current Nexus 7 would probably have been my first tablet.
    Reply
  • jjj - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    Well. yes that's the point i was making.Pretty much all tablets above 7 inch are overpriced. At 7 inch you got lots of reasonably priced options, go above it an it all goes to hell.And that is the problem. 7 inch tablets are selling well, not because consumers just love tiny tablets but because there isn't a compelling offering for bigger devices.
    8.3 inch is about 40% more screen area than 7 inch, 10 inch is twice the area of a 7 inch device. The cost of the devices goes up with the cost of the screen, a few $ for the larger battery and a few more for the larger body but the premiums we see in retail pricing for bigger sizes are not justified at all.
    It is rather odd for you to argue that a 10 inch tablet should be 350$ or less ,yet you are fine with 8.3 inch at the same price.
    As for my beef, i started about this tablet and then generalized. This tablet was rumored to be a Nexus device so it is disappointing to see that it's not and the price is way high and after all even as a Google Play edition ,Google decides what to sell in it's store and it's a pity that they accepted this kind of pricing for a device they support this way.
    Anyway, Google is supposed to push Android. They did so by launching the Nexus 7 in response to the Kindle and that jump started the 7 inch category, now we got a lot of 7 inch tablets. But they only did it because they were forced to and this year they upped the price by 30$,against their own interests. Now they will most likely react to the Windows threat in bigger tablets but it is already late, they should have done it before there was a threat not react to it and who know show late that will be. Google is not not acting,it is reacting ,that's not the right way to do it ,they need to lead not follow. And all this comes after a long saga of tablet missteps and struggles.
    Reply
  • Bob Todd - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    To be fair about the N7 pricing, the original debuted at $199 for the 8GB model. I paid $249 for the 16GB SKU at launch. For 2013 they dropped the 8GB and the 16GB comes in at $230, so comparing launch pricing the new model is actually _cheaper_ than the original for the equivalent SKU. So in one years time you get a tablet that's a huge upgrade in pretty much every way for $20 less than what you got the previous generation.

    Generally agree on the > 7" pricing being out of whack, especially for mobile OS devices. I happily paid $400 for my 10" 64GB T100, but that's a for a device that can do more than my Nexus and included a keyboard (and Office).
    Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    I mostly agree with your argument about large tablet pricing,manufacturers just decided large = premium price point and consumers blindly agreed... It's really the precedent set by the iPad. Two quibbles though, the Nexus 7 was coming whether there was a Kindle or not. They didn't turn around and develop it in a few weeks as a response, and the price was probably in the neighborhood (given some of ASUS other aggressive price points).

    Also, I'm not so sure Goggle sets the price for GPE devices, and I'm not so sure Windows tablets will really put much pressure on these devices. From a logical enthusiast point of view you'd sure think so, but the general consumer market doesn't seem to care much about productivity devices, x86, or even how much NAND they're getting at any given price point...
    Reply
  • mrdude - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    The iPad mini with retina display is $399. It's also got a way better SoC, better display, and it's brand appeal is worth more; while I personally avoid Apple, that fruity logo does draw a crowd. $350 is too much to ask for this. I think ~$250-$300 is a more suitable asking price.

    You're definitely spot on that LG is to blame here, though. Google doesn't build this device nor does it price it.
    Reply
  • ESC2000 - Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - link

    The A7 is not that much better than the snap dragon 600, not enough to notice anyway. True the display on the mini is better but again it's a matter of degree as the g pad's is very nice as well. Can't disagree on the mysterious appeal of the "fruity logo."

    The g pad needed to launch six or eight months earlier and under $300 and it would have been much more compelling. Its SOC and display would've been top of the line for small tablets then, and it would've beat the nexus 7 to market.
    Reply
  • bplewis24 - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    You have a seriously skewed perception of the market and the trends if you think $350 is "absurd" and that Android is always behind the curve.

    That being said, if Windows tablets (NOT RT tablets, which are not the threat here) manufacturers are pricing their products below markup (and possibly profit) to gain market share, that is a tactical decision based on demand, and has nothing to do with Google or Android being "behind the curve." It has to do with Windows being behind the curve.
    Reply
  • jjj - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    Actually i know very well the market,the costs and what consumers are willing to pay.
    And if you ask anyone that knows even a little bit the market they'll tell you that 350$ for an 8.3 inch tablet is absurd. It is absurd when the Nexus 7 is 230 ,when the Asus Memo Pad HD 8GB is 129$ and sales numbers are showing just how absurd it is.
    Reply
  • syxbit - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    I agree with jjj. While some may consider $350 for the LG a 'good' deal, the reality is that this will probably not sell that well. Certainly a LOT less than the Nexus 7 Reply
  • amdwilliam1985 - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    What's the spec of "Asus Memo Pad HD 8GB"?
    How is that comparable to the Nexus 7 16GB 2013?
    If memory serves me correctly, Asus Memo Pad HD 8GB ~ Nexus 7 2012 8GB spec which you can get at very low price too.

    Having access to pure Android and prompt update alone worth the Nexus "premium" price.
    Reply
  • randomlinh - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    Hrm, is the bootloader locked in the GPad? It's currently $50 cheaper at best buy Reply
  • jonup - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    It is for now. Reply
  • MWisBest - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    Was hoping that the Z Ultra would have LTE Band 13 support, unfortunately it doesn't. One of these days we'll get a decent unlocked phone on Verizon again... one of these days... Reply
  • jeffkibuule - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    Unlikely, since any phone attached to Verizon's CDMA network must go through their approval process, you aren't gone to find devices that just "happen" to support their network. Reply
  • giannyjr - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    I hope they fixed the touch issue with the 8.3 Reply
  • jonup - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    What touch issues? Reply
  • BetaDeux - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    With the rumor of a larger Nexus device to replace the 10 coming down the pipe, this announcement is disappointing. The LG G Pad 8.3’s specs are too middling to be attractive for $350. The screen size is appealing, but it needs 300+ ppi screen at that price point. Moreover, the G Pad has virtually the same processor as a Nexus 7. For $120 more than Nexus 7 you get 1.3 inches of lessor screen, 200 MHz, and microSD slot. I guess some people will want the microSD bad enough, but I just don’t see this thing selling. As is, the price needs to drop to about $280. LG should put in a Snapdragon 800 and the aforementioned screen, then bump up the price. Basically make a Kindle Fire HDX GPe. That would sell.

    I seem to be echoing JJJ and mrdude’s sentiments. This tab’s position in the market is just seems bad. I know GPe devices are based on production devices, but why even bother with this tab.
    Reply
  • prussian - Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - link

    To fill Google's PLAYground I guess. Now they have devices of 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10 inches as their own base to experiment UI designs on display of all sizes. Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    It's not like Google's going out if their way here, it's LG who has to manage an extra SKU/build... Maybe they thought this would give G Pad sales a shot in the arm, some people will surely pay $120 for the card slot alone... At least if you believe the litany of complaints in these comments over every single device without removable storage.

    Personally, I own a 2013 N7. It'll probably last me a good two years just like my OG Transformer... However, I happen to like the bigger 8" form factor, seems like a sweet spot for me. Would I pay $120 more for it tho? Probably not, dunno. Tough if they had announced this pre-Black Friday (and if I didn't own a N7) I would definitely have picked the regular G Pad up with the intention of turning it into a GPE version.
    Reply
  • vailr - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    Who actually makes Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX? A Google Play Store edition of the 8.9" Kindle Fire HDX (minus the Amazon branding) running Android 4.4 Kit Kat would be an interesting option to the LG 8.3" device. Especially if: they added an SD or microSD memory slot. Reply
  • thesavvymage - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    I dont know for sure, but I think it may be compal. It was in an article I saw here on Anandtech long ago. However, a Google Edition Kindle Fire is impossible. Any company making a device using a forked version of Android is denied access to the Google Apps package, so no playstore and stuff. Reply
  • psuedonymous - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    It would be nice if ANY of the Google Play Editions were available outside the US. Reply
  • Sm0king.Minkey - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    +1 Reply
  • probedb - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - link

    Why does this place not have a 'Report Spam' link? Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Thursday, December 12, 2013 - link

    From the pictures of the Z Ultra GPE I've seen in use, it seems to waste the screen space as it uses the phone interface rather than the tablet interface the original Sony version uses. One of the reasons the Z Ultra appealed to me was the additional amount of space to use on the screen such as the seven icons in the tray (six customisable, one apps button) and the main 6x6 icon space on the main desktop screens. The screenshots of the Google Play edition version of the Z Ultra show only five icons in the tray and it looks like possibly a 5x5 icon grid for the main desktop. I assume it can be customised but a shame not to take advantage of the huge screen out of the box.

    Also as noted in a previous comment, the benefit of a GPE version is lessened on the Z Ultra as Sony's reskinning is fairly minimal unlike HTC or Samsung. Admittedly they have been a bit slow in getting the OS updates out but they're claiming to be getting on top of that.
    Reply
  • peterrudy - Thursday, December 12, 2013 - link

    Brian, if you have been using Xperia Z ultra can you please post a review on it? Reply
  • myhui - Friday, December 13, 2013 - link

    What does "working natively" mean in the article, when it mentions that this phone can go on AT&T and T-Mobile's WCDMA / LTE / GSM networks?

    Does the SIM card tell the phone which air standards and bands are available from that carrier?
    Reply
  • hmaarrfk - Friday, December 13, 2013 - link

    So the way I understand it, LG's creative team can't be bothered to chose one skin/look and feel for their product. Instead, they use a shotgun approach and hope that something will stick.

    They really need to cut down on the different types of units they ship. This must be a mess for the people that are keeping everything up to date.
    Reply

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