If the latest rumor is to be believed, the double act of Google Edition phones may be about to become a trio, as Romanian Android-focused blog Android Geeks claims to have inside information that the Sony Xperia Z will be the next device to get the Nexus treatment. Quoting an anonymous Sony source, it’s reported the deal has already been done, and an Xperia Z freed from Sony’s user interface tweaks could be coming as soon as July. If so, it’ll join the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, both of which will go on sale through Google Play later this month.
If this is correct, we can expect the Xperia Z to be identical to the model already on sale, but with a stock version of Android 4.2.2 installed, without any interference from Sony. This wouldn’t be the first time the Xperia Z has run standard Android either, as the phone was recently inducted into the Android Open Source Project, and shown to run Android 4.2.2 on its own – very smoothly too.
By Sony’s own admission, the AOSP Xperia Z wasn’t suitable for everyday use by the public, but it certainly shows the company isn’t averse to removing its Android skin from the phone. The Xperia Z has sold well internationally, but Sony has struggled to find carrier support in the U.S., something which it hopes to rectify soon, and by getting a Google Edition into Google Play, it could help raise the phone’s profile in America.
Despite appearances, Sony is one of the few major manufacturers not represented in some way in the Google Play store, or by Google itself. Samsung and HTC have both produced Nexus phones, and now have Google Editions of their flagship devices, while LG builds the Nexus 4. Motorola, of course, is owned by Google, and great things are expected from it later this year. Sony is equally serious about Android, so the rumor of a Google Edition of the Xperia Z doesn’t sound all that far fetched.