In the world of cutting edge Smartphones, Sony has always been lagging behind the pack. Whilst Apple has been laughing its way to the bank with the iPhone and Samsung have been slowly taking over the remaining market with a twist of the moustache and a maniacal grin, Sony has repeatedly failed to gain any kind of traction with their Experia phone product line.
So much so that its own chief of mobile productions has flatout stated they’ve not been doing well in recent years.
But that’s looking like it’s going to change soon with the official announcement of the Experia Z, Sony’s latest and greatest entry into the smartphone world, and by the looks of things, they’ve upped their game considerably.
The handset looks beautiful, with full glass front and backs and sleek curved lines around the sides and the specs are certainly nothing to sniff at.
The Z sports:
- A 1.5Ghz Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core
- 2Gb of RAM
- A full 1080p HD 5 inch display sporting 440ppi (blowing Retina’s 326ppi out of the water) that incorporates Sony’s own Bravia technology to make it ultra sharp.
- A 13.1 Mp camera on the back and a 2.2 Mp pixel front facing camera
- Up to 16Gb of internal memory but has an SD card slot for memory expansion
- Dimensions of 139x71x7.9mm
- Dust resistance and Water resistance up to 1m and can be submerged for half an hour without damage.
Clearly Sony has taken a look at their competitors offers and decided to bring everything they could to this phone as that’s an impressive set of features right there, beating every other current smartphone offering out there.
Going a little more in depth, the 5” screen is following the upward trend of phablet style smartphones that Samsung and other manufacturers have been pushing over the last couple of years, making the phone itself seem quite enormous for something still daring to call itself a smartphone. Initial reports point to the build quality being incredibly solid feeling, with the glass front and back adding a touch of class and quality to the whole offering. And whilst the phone is quite large surface area wise, at 7.9mm it’s respectably thin and surprisingly light for something of its size at 146g.
But under the hood the screen is a different animal from the AMOLED or IPS offerings of other manufacturers. It uses advancements and innovations from Sony’s own television manufacturing to bring a full 1920 x 1080 screen to a phone. Using their Reality Display TV and the Mobile Bravia Engine technology, Sony have created a stunningly sharp display with brilliant, but not overly bright colours. Clearly Sony feel that the time had come to start treating the smartphone market seriously and to put everything they’ve learned from their different technology departments into creating the Experia.
This can also be seen in the 13 Mp camera, which sports Sony’s Exmor RS imaging sensor. The sensor allows higher quality pictures in low light, HDR photography and, if that wasn’t enough, the world’s first HDR video recorder on a mobile device. How HDR video recording works is quite beyond us at Kumulos (backend as a service) as far as we know, HDR works by layering 3 photos (one over exposed, one under exposed, one normal) of the same shot to create the dynamic “full” feeling light in a photograph.
There is NFC, which is quickly becoming a de facto addition in smartphones despite the technology not really gaining a lot of traction in the consumer world yet (it’s been said that it won’t become a norm until Apple puts it in an iPhone, time will tell). And of course, the talking point of this particular phone is that it is water and dust resistant, meaning that it’s much more likely to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use, and if you drop it down the toilet not only will it survive unharmed, you can then rinse it off under a tap afterwards.
As for what’s powering the whole thing, we have none other than Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. This may seem like a little bit of an odd choice considering 4.2 has been out for a while now and 4.2.2 is already rumoured to be on its way very soon to Nexus devices but Sony has already stated that they will be updating the handset to 4.2 soon after its initial launch in mid February.
Of course the Android version will have Sony’s own UI skinned on top of it, which may make some folks jumpy as Sony doesn’t exactly have a great track record with making light and nice to use UIs but according to all reports they seem to have learned a lesson and have gutted much of the problematic features of yesteryear.
Sony are also taking a leaf out of Apple’s book, according to Calum MacDougall, Director of Xperia Marketing Programme at Sony. ““The great strength of Apple is the consistency of the user interface across products so we know we have to match that if we’re going to deliver a wider ecosystem,” said MacDougall. “We intend to offer a unified experience across multiple Sony products. This is about providing a consistent Sony entertainment experience across multiple devices.””
And they intend to do this by offering their various cloud music, video and gaming services as part of the Experia experience.
As we said, the Experia is tipped for a Q1 release, and the rumours from the mobile carriers points to that actually being sometime around mid-February, so if you’re excited by this phone then you won’t have to wait long until you can potentially get your hands on one. The pricing is slated to be right in the same region as other premium smartphones (around £500 in the UK) for an unlocked one but the carriers offering it will undoubtedly offer some good launch deals for the phone on contracts.
The only issue for Sony is that they may release this phone, only for Samsung to come along with the much anticipated Galaxy SIV and blow it out of the water, or for Apple to announce the next iteration of the iPhone and kill whatever press buzz was surrounding the phone. Only time shall tell.
And in the mobile business, your luck can change just that quickly, so staying up-to-date and on the ball is essential for app developers. To help you do that, we at Kumulos have our Mobile Backend as a Service platform, designed with developers in mind to help you get the most from your app without you having to worry about how to create a working backend for your app. We also have tech support (if you need it) and even business and project advice (if you want it) for those trickier moments in the development cycle.
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