LG releases Google Play edition of G Pad 8.3 Android tablet

The special version of the G Pad 8.3 runs Android 4.4 KitKat and is available now from the Google Play store at $349.99.

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To date, the latest version of Google's Android OS -- 4.4 KitKat -- has been mostly available on the company's own Nexus 5 smartphone and Nexus 7 and 10 tablets (along with select smartphones like Google Play versions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One ). But today, it's loosened the reins a little more, adding special editions of LG's G Pad 8.3 tablet as well as Sony's Z Ultra phablet to the Google Play store with KitKat installed.

That makes the Google Play edition of the G Pad the first non-Google Android tablet to run KitKat and grace Google's online store. Beyond that addition, there's not a lot new compared to the previously released version of the G Pad, though the Play site emphasizes that it includes Google Now, YouTube, Chrome, and Gmail pre-installed.

But that might be okay with many users, as the G Pad was already feature packed, from a quad-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor to a 1,920x1,200 8.3-inch screen to Q Pair functionality, which allows you to view call and text information from an Android smartphone on the G Pad. In his recent review of the device , ZDNet's Matthew Miller concluded that "LG did a fantastic job with this tablet and it offers you everything you want in an Android device."

What might not be as okay is the G Pad 8.3 Google Play edition pricing. While the original G Pad was sold for as low as $249 during the Black Friday shopping "holiday" , this new version will sell for $349.99 and only be available in black. (LG also sells a white version of the G Pad.) That's $50 more than the "Jelly Bean" version currently sells for at Best Buy, but if you can't wait for when LG decides to roll out KitKat to that model, you may be willing to spend the extra cash.

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