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Xperia Z3+ comes with free £275 Hi-Res Audio bundle in the UK

Posted by wicked June - 29 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

Sony-Xperia-Z3V-34

Sony has kicked off its launch campaign for its new Xperia Z3+ smartphone by offering customers a free Hi-Res Audio bundle worth £275 with purchases of its new flagship smartphone. The bundle includes the premium MDR-10RC headphones, 6 Hi-Res Audio albums through Xperia Lounge and a 3 month subscription to TIDAL, the Jay-Z backed music streaming service that claims to pay the highest royalties to artists and musicians.

The Hi-Res Audio feature on the Xperia Z3+ promises to deliver music as the artist intended with DSEE HX – a partnership with Harman Kardon – offering upscaled music for an improved listening experience while Digital Noise Cancellation technology promises your jam session won’t be interrupted by external disturbances and unwanted noise. The three month subscription to Tidal allows you to choose from over 25 million tracks to listen or 75,000 music videos to watch and also discover new and upcoming stars in different genres.

Sony Xperia in video:

The Xperia Z3+ is Sony’s latest Android smartphone and offers similar specs to the Xperia Z3 from last year, save for a few petite differences. Almost identical to the Xperia Z4 for Japan, the Xperia Z3+ brings the updated Snapdragon 810 processor and an extra GB of RAM. There’s also a slightly smaller build (at 6.9mm thick) which has led to a slightly smaller battery (2900mAh vs 3100mAh) and a redesign of the charging port to the bottom of the handset.

Like its predecessors, the Xperia Z3+ is dust and water resistant, allowing you to use the handset for up to 1.5 metres underwater for up to 30 minutes at a time. The rear camera is still the 20.7MP sensor from the Xperia Z3 but the front camera has been bumped up to 5MP, in line with other current flagship smartphones.

The Xperia Z3+ runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop and will be familiar to any Sony user who has upgraded their phone to the latest software version. The lack of real upgrades in the Xperia Z3+ means this handset doesn’t stray too much from past Xperia handsets; quintessentially a Sony smartphone, the Z3+ is nothing more than an iterative upgrade to past Sony smartphones, rather than the revolutionary upgrade Sony’s product strategy desperately needs.

The Hi-Res Audio bundle offer is available when buying your Xperia Z3+ on pay monthly contracts through Carphone Warehouse, Vodafone or O2.

The rise and fall of Sony Mobile: where next?

Posted by wicked June - 18 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

sony logo mwc 2015 1

Sony Mobile may have only broke through into the phone market shortly after the turn of the century, but the Japanese manufacturer quickly rose to the top with products that redefined the way we use our smartphones.

An early period of innovation thrust the company into the limelight as it offered a credible alternative to handsets from then-leaders RIM, Nokia and Motorola. However, like many of the OEMs of that era, the company failed to respond to the threat from the Apple iPhone when it launched in 2007, and it has now become a bit-part player in the ever-competitive mobile industry.

Many of the giants from that era have now sold up and moved to pastures new, but Sony retains the fight with its current range of Xperia handsets. With many signs that the company is failing to innovate again and is headed sharply towards the pits, how can the company stave off what currently seems like almost inevitable death?

The Sony Ericsson years

sony-ericsson-logo

Before looking to the future, we need to consider the company’s past, and it all begins with a joint venture between Sony Mobile of Japan and Sweden’s Ericsson to create the smartphone that, in 2001, arguably defined the brand from its introduction: the Sony Ericsson T68i.

Running on a proprietary OS, the T68i brought brilliant design and offered curved edges, a joystick in place of navigation buttons, and a 256 color display that set a benchmark for mobile phones. In an era when phones were boring and dull, the T68i shone through and at a cost of $650 at launch, it was very expensive. Despite this, many bought one and I remember the thrill mine gave me that arguably hasn’t been replicated since mobile phones became smart commodities.

Fast forward a year, phones were getting bigger and the concept of premium phone was born. The Sony Ericsson T610 combined a black and silver color scheme, a joystick and a 65,000 color display with 128×160 pixels resolution. The premium design was the biggest selling point and the mind-boggling display again advanced the benchmark by which other phones were defined.

Sony Ericsson K750i (far left), SE T68i (middle left)

Sony Ericsson K750i (far left), SE T68i (middle left) – Image Via

From the T Series, to the K series, and the peak (and then decline) of Sony’s mobile ambitions. I remember selling the first handset, the K750i, in significant volume whilst working for a major UK retailer in 2005 and this is the handset that many would call Sony’s golden egg.

The K750i’s 2MP camera ushered in the camera spec war – that still continues today – and the handset also bought a music player and expandable storage. It wasn’t all great, as it required proprietary expandable storage and used Sony’s odd Fast Port headphone jack as opposed to the 3.5mm that devices use today. The K750i was certainly a handset that was a joy to use and with MMS slowly beginning to encourage picture sharing, the camera was perfect.

The K750i camera would also see Sony focus on particular features and the result was the K800i (also known as the K790i) which is widely regarded as Sony Ericsson’s most successful mobile phone. The handset brought the Cybershot brand from Sony’s cameras to Sony Ericsson phones and the candy-bar design was a throw to the style of future mobile phones. The 3.2MP camera further grayed the line between phones and cameras while the 2-inch QVGA display was a sign of bigger displays to come.

I remember the K800i well and actually remember selling a lot of these handsets until January 2007 when Apple redefined the industry. The K800i will always be a handset that’s remembered for making the average customer realize that mobile phones could take as good pictures as the point-and-shoot cameras of the day, but like many other devices, it never got a look in once Apple introduced the iPhone.

The iPhone effect

The original iPhone (Image credit)

The original iPhone (Image credit)

Like Motorola, BlackBerry – who was known as RIM BlackBerry, before dropping RIM from its name – and Nokia – who sold its mobile phone division to Microsoft and then announced a new Android-based tablet – Sony Ericsson completely failed to recognize the threat of the iPhone.

Apple’s first handset may not have done a lot but it brought something completely different; capacitive touch screens. Until the iPhone, the few touchscreen devices had used resistive touchscreens, which responded to pressure but the capacitive display on the iPhone responded to touch.

iPhone in video:

As a result, the concept of an all-touchscreen device completely transformed customer expectations from a mobile phone and Sony Ericsson tried but failed to produce handsets that could actually challenge the iPhone. The key thing that Apple had was its iPhone OS (now known as iOS) which was designed for touchscreens, while Sony Ericsson – like Nokia –t ried and failed to repurpose the Symbian UI for use with touch displays.

2008 saw LG overtake Sony Ericsson, and the beginnings of a profit warning era, with profits of €1.125 billion in 2007 dropping to a loss of nearly €800 million in 2009. The decline was short, sharp and very bitter, but six years later, the company is still in operation so how did they recover?

An Xperia generation

sony-logo-mwc-2015-7

Post iPhone launch, Sony Ericsson first backed Symbian as its platform of choice, then Windows Mobile and Android, as the battle for mobile supremacy expanded into the smartphone arena. While transitioning towards smartphones, the company still produced feature phones such as the W995 in 2009 – which had the world’s first 8-megapixel camera and was part of the Walkman-focused W series – and the Symbian-based P series, which ran Symbian and offered PDA-like features.

The key change in Sony’s fortunes came from the decision of Sony Mobile to buy out partner Ericsson and make Sony Ericsson its wholly-owned subsidiary. Announced in October 2011, Sony completed the buyout the following February, and Sony Mobile Communications was born. With the buyout, the company underwent a massive restructuring and transformation.

Prior to the buyout, Sony Ericsson had produced two smart devices which aimed to offer the best of its PDA and camera phones in a single device. Both ran on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform and came at an era where the entire market was questioning whether there was a demand and need for physical keyboards on mobile phones.

Of the two devices, the Xperia X1 was by far my favourite, and, although it was bereft with hardware issues and buggy software, I owned more than ten of these devices. The X1 had a unique curved slide-out full QWERTY keyboard, large touchscreen and a stylus and, while its successor the Xperia X2 fared a little better, these were Sony’s arguably most innovative smartphones.

In 2010, the company announced its first Android smartphone, the Xperia X10, which had a certain style and design that’s familiar even today. This was followed by handsets like the Xperia X10 mini pro – its first Android QWERTY sliderj, the Xperia Arc – which combined a stunning camera with impeccable design, the Xperia Ray and lastly, the Xperia Play – which had a slide-out PlayStation controller and is arguably the founding handset of the now defunct PlayStation-certified series.

Following the buyout and the birth of Sony Mobile Communication, Sony focused on Android, which was on a rapid rise towards supremacy. The Xperia S was announced in February 2012 and bought large internal storage (32GB), a 4.3-inch HD display and a 12MP rear camera that would appear on many devices going forward. This was followed by flagship handsets such as the Xperia Ion and Xperia Acro as well as lower-handsets such as the Xperia P and Xperia U as the Xperia brand encompassed Sony’s entire smartphone portfolio.

The announcement of the Xperia Z in 2013 saw the introduction of Sony’s current flagship smartphone range and the birth of iterative upgrades, a strategy that ultimately failed to capture the market. The table below shows the different flagship Xperia Z devices and how they compare:

Detail Xperia Z Xperia Z1 Xperia Z2 Xperia Z3 Xperia Z3+
Device:
Display Size: 5.0 inch TFT 5.0 inch TFT 5.2 inch IPS 5.2 inch IPS 5.2 inch IPS
Display Resolution: Full HD (1080×1920) Full HD (1080×1920) Full HD (1080×1920) Full HD (1080×1920) Full HD (1080×1920)
Display Density: 441ppi 441ppi 424ppi 424ppi 424ppi
Processor: quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro
4 x 1.5GHz
quad-core Snapdragon 800
4 x 2.2GHz
quad-core Snapdragon 801
4 x 2.3GHz
quad-core Snapdragon 801
4 x 2.5GHz
octa-core Snapdragon 810
4 x 2.0GHz, 4 x 1.5GHz
Storage: 16GB 16GB 16GB 16GB/32GB 32GB
Expandable storage? microSD, up to 64GB microSD, up to 64GB microSD, up to 128GB microSD, up to 128GB microSD, up to 128GB
RAM: 2GB 2GB 3GB 3GB 3GB
LTE: Cat 3 (100Mbps DL, 50Mbps UL) Cat 4 (150Mbps DL, 50Mbps UL) Cat 4 (150Mbps DL, 50Mbps UL) Cat 4 (150Mbps DL, 50Mbps UL) Cat 6 (300Mbps DL, 50Mbps UL)
First OS: Android 4.1.2 Android 4.2 Android 4.4.2 Android 4.4.4 Android 5.0
IP dust/water rating IP57
water resistance up to 1 meter and 30 minutes
IP58
water resistance up to 1.5 meters and 30 minutes
IP58
water resistance up to 1.5 meters and 30 minutes
IP68
water resistance up to 1 meter and 30 minutes
IP68
water resistance up to 1.5 meters and 30 minutes
Camera:
Sensor size: 13.1MP 20.7MP 20.7MP 20.7MP 20.7MP
Video recording (1080p): 30fps 30fps 60fps 60fps 60fps
Video Recording (4K/2160p): None None 30fps 30fps 30fps
Front camera: 2.2MP, 1080p@30fps 2MP, 1080p@30fps 2.2MP, 1080p@30fps 2.2MP, 1080p@30fps 5.1MP, 1080p@30fps
Flash single-LED single-LED single-LED single-LED single-LED
Battery:
Capacity: 2330 mAh 3000 mAh 3200 mAh 3100 mAh 2930 mAh
Removable Battery? No No No No No
Fast Charging? No No 60% in 30 mins
Quick Charge 2.0
60% in 30 mins
Quick Charge 2.0
60% in 30 mins
Quick Charge 2.0

On paper, the Xperia Z was revolutionary, but in the hand, it was very much a case of numbers can be deceiving. Sony followed this up with several handsets and while there have been some improvements in display type and camera, the series has become synonymous with evolution, over revolution. The Xperia Z range has also given birth to other handsets and Sony’s push into multiple sizes; the Xperia Z Ultra was a larger-than-life phablet that let you use a normal pen or pencil on the display, while the Xperia Z3 Compact is arguably the best handset produced by Sony Mobile.

Yet here we are, eight years after the first iPhone was announced and despite plenty of new devices, and restructuring resulting in thousands of layoffs all around the world, Sony has failed to recapture its early magic. Like many others, the company has shown its not willing to risk on innovation and prefers to offer iterative updates, and this strategy is plainly not working.

How can Sony prevent a seemingly-inevitable demise, and is it time to change its Xperia Z strategy to refocus its efforts elsewhere?

Where does Sony Mobile go from here?

Sony-Xperia-Z3-Tablet-Compact-18

With the demise of Sony Ericsson behind it, Sony should have learnt from its mistakes. While the Japanese company has attempted to steady the ship, there seems to be very little resolve to challenge the status quo.

Sony has wisely integrated some of its non-mobile technologies, like the X-Reality Engine, BIONZ image processing unit, and Exmor-R sensor, into is smartphones, but this hasn’t been enough to stop the decline. While Sony was focusing on adapting its existing technology, its rivals have pushed on real innovation and left Sony behind.

Sony’s partners get better images than Sony from the same sensor

The company may have camera knowledge, but strangely, its partners have had better luck with Sony camera sensors than it has itself. It’s rather ironic that Sony provides the camera sensors for lots of Samsung and Apple smartphones, yet its inferior processing results in worse images than its partners produce using the same camera module.

That being said, it’s not all bad for Sony as the company’s Omnibalance design and advanced water resistance do give it a couple of unique selling points. The key problem for the manufacturer is that it just doesn’t upgrade its smartphones enough between each release cycle. Let’s consider the Xperia Z2, the Xperia Z3 and the Xperia Z3+, and how little are the differences between each handset.

sony logo ceo kaz hirai aa

Under CEO Kaz Hirai, Sony has been struggling to turn a profit from its mobile business. Is he still committed to it?

Going forward, there’s a few ways the company can remain relevant but the key is to change the release cycle. Sure there will always be a demand for newer handsets in its home country of Japan so Sony could keep its current cycle there (without giving each handset a new name in the Xperia Z range) but for other markets, Sony should stick to one flagship per year.

It’s not just slowing the release cadence; each handset needs to be different to the others, whether by improving the display, changing the design or meaningfully improving the camera. At the moment, it seems that Sony releases handsets for the sake of releasing handsets, but surely it’s time to refocus?

If just handset comparisons don’t make a compelling case enough, here’s Sony’s finances over the past ten years. Sony’s product strategy clearly hasn’t helped reverse the decline it has experienced since the iPhone was released:

sony-mobile-net-income-loss-2006-2015-1Alongside changing its smartphone strategy, the company could also focus more on other devices such as wearables, smart cameras and tablets. While it has failed in the smartphone market, its performance in the tablet market is a different story and its latest device, the Xperia Z4 Tablet, is arguably one of the best Android tablets ever released.

Android tablets have failed to dominate the tablet market in quite the same way their smartphone siblings have, yet the waterproof Xperia Z4 Tablet has market-leading specs and is designed for use in a spectrum of conditions from the dusty deserts of the Middle East to the rain-lashed monsoons of Asia and the unpredictable weather of Europe and the USA. Sony could easily make tablets its key focus going forward.

sony xperia z1 lens qx100 aa 10

From tablets to smart cameras and the innovative QX10 and QX100 clip-on cameras that were announced at IFA 2013. Debuted alongside the Xperia Z2, these lenses acted as remote viewfinders and allowed you to capture images with optical zoom from your smartphone but failed to capture the market as intended. The QX-10 offered great quality point-and-shoot images while the QX-100 offered the manual controls that was missing from the QX-10, albeit with a much much larger price tag.

The QX-10 and QX-100 were joined by the second-generation QX1 and QX30, which bought upgrades that include 30x optical zoom and a mount for the E lenses used in Sony’s DSLR range. Could the QX series be Sony’s secret weapon to carve out its own little lucrative niche in the market? Now Nokia has sold its smartphone division to Microsoft, it’s unlikely we’ll see a successor to the 42MP-clad Nokia Lumia 1020 and maybe there’s an opportunity for Sony to rekindle the camera-magic of its past in a bid for its future.

Wearables is another area where Sony has a long pedigree, with the Sony Ericsson Live View wearable launching all the way back in 2005. One of the pioneers of the modern smartwatch, Sony adopted Google’s Android Wear operating system in the third generation of its SmartWatch range but with the Apple Watch now firmly entrenched on almost a million wrists, the real challenge is about to begin.

While Sony doesn’t have a lot of control over the Android Wear software its devices run on, the company can refocus its design efforts to achieve the premium look that the Apple Watch and certain Android Wear rivals – such as the Huawei Watch and LG G Watch R – have achieved. Our very own Bogdan Petrovan touched on this in our feature on where Sony went wrong earlier this year and said that Sony could become the Apple of Android by focusing on premium devices; just like Bogdan, I agree that its unlikely Sony will take this approach but it’s definitely something for Sony to consider.

Although the SmartWatch 3 is now available in metal, I would like to see Sony really challenge the concept of a smartwatch in its next generation with unique innovative design that’s the result of careful consideration for the end user. Whether its achieving the right balance between size and design to an impressive display or super-large battery, Sony’s next wearable needs to be different.

And there-in lies the word that defines Sony as we know it: an inability to be different. In an ever-growing saturated smartphone market, the company needs its devices to stand apart from the rest, and as good as they are, the Xperia Z range fails to do this. Let’s look at how the Xperia Z3+ fares against the best from Samsung, LG, HTC and Huawei:

Detail Sony Xperia Z3+ HTC One M9 Galaxy S6 LG G4
Hardware:
Display Size: 5.2 inch IPS 5.0 inch Super LCD3 5.1 inch Super AMOLED 5.5 inch IPS
Display Resolution: Full HD (1080×1920) Full HD (1080×1920) Quad HD (1440×2560) Quad HD (1440×2560)
Display Density: 424ppi 441ppi 577ppi 538ppi
Processor: octa-core Snapdragon 810
4 x 2GHz + 4 x 1.5GHz
octa-core Snapdragon 810
4 x 2GHz + 4 x 1.5GHz
octa-core Exynos 7420
4 x 2.1GHz, 4 x 1.5GHz
hexa-core Snapdragon 808
2 x 1.82GHz, 4 x 1.44GHz
Storage: 32GB 32GB 32/64/128GB 32GB
Expandable storage? microSD, up to 128GB microSD, up to 128GB No microSD, up to 128GB
RAM: 3GB 3GB 3GB 3GB
Build Type: Glass and plastic Aluminium Unibody Glass and metal Plastic front with Plastic or Leather rear
LTE: Cat 6 (300Mbps DL, 50Mbps UL) Cat 6 (300Mbps DL, 50Mbps UL) Cat 6 (300Mbps DL, 50Mbps UL) Cat 6 (300Mbps DL, 50Mbps UL)
Fingerprint Sensor: No No Yes
Payments: Samsung Pay
PayPal Certified
No
SIM card Single SIM Single SIM Single SIM Single SIM
Software:
OS version: Android 5.0 Android 5.0 Android 5.0.2 Android 5.1 (Lollipop)
User Interface: Sony UI HTC Sense 7 TouchWiz UI LG G UX 4.0
Camera:
Sensor size: 20.7MP 20MP 16MP 16MP with color spectrum sensor
Autofocus: Yes Yes Yes Laser
Optical Image Stabilisation: No No Yes Yes
Video recording (1080p): 60fps 60fps 60fps 60fps
Video Recording (4K/2160p): 30fps 30fps 30fps 30fps
Front camera: 5.1MP, 1080p@30fps 4MP Ultrapixel
1080p@30fps
5MP, 1440p@30fps 8MP, 1080p@30fps
Flash LED flash dual-LED (dual tone) LED flash LED flash
Battery:
Capacity: 2930 mAh 2840 mAh 2550mAh 3000 mAh
Removable Battery? No No No Yes
Fast Charging: Quick Charge 2.0
60% in 30 mins
Quick Charge 2.0
60% in 30 mins
Quick Charge 2.0
60% in 30 mins
None
Wireless Charging: No No Yes, PMA+Qi Optional

To stave off the demise, Sony needs to rekindle the magic that made Sony Ericsson successful. It needs to be bold and daring.

If Sony can think outside the box and really be innovative in its next smartphone and wearables, there’s a lot of the hope for the company yet. However, a failure to differentiate against the Xperia Z3+ could mean the end of the company’s global smartphone aspirations. Sony is no longer one of the top 10 global smartphone manufacturers – a list that is dominated incidentally by no less than seven Chinese manufacturers – and without daring to be different and really challenge the status quo, the company has no chance.

Sony needs to dare to be different

If it wants to truly be different, why not finally deliver the metal-clad Xperia handset that should have been the Xperia Z4? Add in a Quad HD display, stable processor, excellent camera – with image processing that harnesses the full potential of the module – and waterproofing if possible and the company has a handset that could challenge the very best. Stick with the same design – which was once delightful but is now boring – and only offer a mediocre specs upgrade, and Sony’s fate will be sealed.

What do you think? Can Sony turn around or is the writing on the wall? Let us know your views in the comments below!

Verizon to release Sony Xperia Z4v in the US

Posted by wicked June - 16 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Sony has been criticized for releasing a new flagship that wasn’t really much of an upgrade from their previous one, the Xperia Z3, forcing them to release it as the Xperia Z3+ in the international market, rather than the Xperia Z4 that was announced in Japan. Now you can add another new confusing device to the mix. Verizon has just announced that they will be the sole distributor of the Sony Xperia Z4v in the US.

Claiming that it will offer “wider palette of rich, natural colors and enhanced color depth and gradation without risk of over saturation” with its 5.2-inch Full WQHD “Triluminos” display. This refers to the “X-reality” technology exclusively by Sony. It runs on a Snapdragon 810 octa-core 64 bit SoC and has a 32GB internal storage but you can expand it up to 128GB through a microSD card. It has an IP65 and IP68 protection so it has protection against dust and also against low-pressure water jet spray for 3 minutes. You can also leave your smartphone in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes and it won’t be damaged.

paint

When it comes to photography features, the Xperia Z4v has a 20.7 megapixel main camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing one. The back camera has an Exmore RS image sensor that would help you take pictures even in low-lighting situations. The front-facing camera, which the kids nowadays call the selfie cam, has a 25-mm wide-angle lens and can take 4K video at 30fps and 1080 video at 60fps.

The Xperia Z4v supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 technology, giving more power to your 3,000 mAh battery. The device also has the Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE HX) to make the sound almost high-resolution quality. They will be offering both Black and White devices. There are no price and availability details yet, but this will probably be announced in the next few days.

sonysideways-1280x897

MXTP puts Xperia in lockdown mode under suspicious circumstances

Posted by wicked June - 10 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

While features like Android Device Manager and Sony’s own My Xperia are helpful in trying to locate, ring, or lock your missing smartphone, it also lays open your device to being wiped clean by whoever has taken or gotten your gadget. And that means all programs, including the two aforementioned features, will also be removed. Sony has come up with a solution called My Xperia Theft Protection (MXTP) to ensure that only you will be able to wipe your own smartphone clean.

The MXTP is included in the bootloader of your device so even if someone else tries to wipe your phone, it will still remain in the system. And unless you enter your Google log-in details, the device will be rendered practically useless to the “thief’. Unfortunately, you still won’t be able to locate your smartphone since My Xperia will still be deleted. But at least no one else will be able to use it as well. The phone will turn into lockdown mode if “unusual patterns” will be detected, including factory reset, someone using PC Companion for software repair, deleting a Google account connected with MXTP, disabling or deleting MXTP. And the owner can even activate lockdown mode through the MyXperia website.

Once your device is on lockdown mode, you will only be able to get out of it by inputting the Google account details associated with your myXperia account. Whoever has your phone will not be able to use it since all apps will stop, notification panel will not maximize, incoming calls will go straight to voicemail, outgoing calls (except emergency calls) will be blocked, and the USB port can only be used for charging but not for PC connectivity.

xperia

To enable MXTP, just go to your device’s settings, then security, then activate “Protection by my Xperia”. Unfortunately, the only Xperia devices that supports this for now are the M4 Aqua, C4, and Z4 Tablet. Hopefully, it will also extend to other Xperia devices.

VIA: Xperia Blog

Sony to start shipping Xperia Z4 Tablet before June ends

Posted by wicked June - 9 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Sony has built up anticipation for the Xperia Z4 tablet in several ads already and so here we are waiting for the tablet to finally be released in the market. However, there’s a bit of a delay in Europe with the launch expected before the end of May but was moved to June 5. Unfortunately again, it was pushed back to June 17. This is for the European region where the tablet is supposed to be available from the Sony Mobile Store.

Upon checking the product page, the Xperia Z4 Tablet is now listed with an expected delivery date starting Jun 29. It’s only for the WiFi SKU model. No details on the LTE model though. We’re not sure if this applies to new orders or to those who pre-ordered for the Z4 tablet.

No explanation from Sony yet why these delays are happening. Maybe demand is low or as with any product delays, there could be production issues. Those who sent in their pre-orders haven’t been receiving further details from Sony as well. From May to June 5 and now June 17, we’re hoping Sony will finally deliver the Xperia Z4 tablets before June ends.

To review, the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet comes equipped with a 10.1-inch screen, 2560 x 1600 display resolution, 3GB RAM, 32GB built-in storage, microSD card slot, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 CPU processor. Based on the ad we saw earlier, the Z4 Tablet works with external accessories like a keyboard dock.

VIA: XPERIA Blog

Sony to roll out Lollipop 5.1 to Xperia Z devices next month

Posted by wicked June - 5 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Sony is still in the process of giving the Android Lollipop updates to some of their Xperia devices, like Z, ZL, ZR and Tablet Z. But already, other Xperia users who have been upgraded can expect a new one to come next month as the Japanese OEM announced that they will be upgrading the whole Xperia Z line to version 5.1. Included also in that update are other Xperia devices like the T2 Ultra and the Xperia C3.

Aside from the usual bug fixes and stability improvements that Lollipop 5.1 will bring, it also has a few minor but important features for your smartphone and/or tablet. Your upgraded device will now have Device Protection so if you lose your gadget for some reason or it was stolen for you, whoever has it will not be able to unlock and use it unless you sign in with your Google account. It also now has support for multiple SIM cards and if your carrier offers it and your device supports it. you can also now use HD voice calling.

Sony also announced that the Xperia M2 and M2 Aqua will be upgraded directly to 5.1, since they still haven’t received the Lollipop yet as of now. But of course, they will only receive it a little after the upgrade to the Xperia devices have started, so owners of these devices would have to wait a little longer.

If all goes to plan, expect Android Lollipop 5.1 to start rolling out to the Xperia Z devices, as well as the other ones mentioned, by July. Of course timing and availability will vary per region and carrier as well.

SOURCE: Sony

Sony may have just confirmed the Xperia Z4 in China

Posted by wicked May - 25 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

We don’t know what Sony is up to, not releasing the Xperia Z4 for the global market, and I don’t suppose we’ll know anytime soon. But a bit of good news, the Japanese company may have just confirmed the upcoming launch of the flagship phone for the Chinese market. At least there’s one other country who’s going to enjoy that great phone.

Our friends over at the Xperia Blog have reported that the Sony Xperia Z4 has just been certified by China’s FAA parallel, the TENAA, which means the device might just be days away from launch. With the image posted above coming from Sony’s Weibo account, we have a very obvious “Z” on the text. Also, we have a date, which is “5.26” or May 26, which is a couple of days from today.

Sony-China-Xperia-Z4

We can either expect the Xperia Z4 in all its glory making its way to the Chinese market soon, or some sort of Xperia Z device – you have rumors of an Xperia Z3+ that will purportedly be launched in some world markets. Again, we can’t say for sure what Sony’s intentions are until we see which device is launched.

If you’re asking again, the answer is “no, there is no information yet” on any rumor that will bring the Sony Xperia Z4 to North American shores. Honestly, that is a bit of a bummer, and Sony better have a big and better plan for the global market at the rate its going.

VIA: Xperia Blog

Sony now allows custom recovery on select Xperia devices

Posted by wicked May - 19 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Sony has always been a standard apart when it comes to helping their smartphone users customize their devices to the way they want it. Sure, they may have locked bootloaders, but Sony will unlock those for you. They’re even moving more into AOSP (Android Open Source Project) territory when the announcement came out that they will be officially allowing custom recovery installation on select Sony Xperia devices.

We did notice that these are the older devices – which include the Sony Xperia Z1, Xperia Z1 Compact, Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia E3, Xperia M2, Xperia T2 Ultra, and the Xperia T3. But these are by no means lame devices, Sony’s commitment to premium hardware has ensured that. Now Sony is enabling recovery mode, something that was not enabled on these devices initially. Entering recovery mode is usually one of the first steps – after gaining root access – to installing custom ROMs and tweaks to your device.

With Sony opening this partition up, more and more Xperia users can install customized after-market software and tools to their devices. You will need an unlocked Xperia device, of course. With that, you can use the official flashing program for Xperia devices to the updated software, and if needed, a new bootloader.

If you are interested in doing this, the complete instructions are found via the source link. Make sure you backup your data before doing any tweaks on your device.

SOURCE: Sony Mobile

NTT DoCoMo rolls out new smartphones, three models now available

Posted by wicked May - 14 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

New smartphones have just landed on NTT DoCoMo: the Sharp AQUOS ZETA SH-03G, Sharp AQUOS EVER SH-04G, and the Sony Xperia A4 SO-04G. All three phones are part of the 2015 summer lineup that consists of more smartphones and tablets, most of which will be released before the month of May ends.

Headlining the lineup are the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge that are now on sale in Japan. But since more people demand for affordable smartphones, the mobile network is offering two new Sharp AQUOS units and one Sony Xperia phone. These are mid-range phones but each one comes with specs that can make them rival the latest premium phones.

Sharp AQUOS ZETA SH-03G

SHARP AQUOS ZETA SH-03G

This new AQUOS phone comes equipped with IGZO LCD display that features an improved backlight and color filters. The AQUOS ZETA SH-03G comes with a metal frame, a camera that can shoot at 210fps, optical image stabilization, wide-angle lens, and some 4K video recording capabilities.

At the back of the phone, you can see a new fingerprint sensor that can be used for authentication and unlocking the phone. It’s carried by DoCoMo so you can connect to PREMIUM 4G especially when needed. Phone also supports VoLTE calling. As for the features, there’s a 5.5-inch Full HD display screen, Snapdragon 810 processor, 13MP main camera, 2MP front-facing cam, 3GB RAM, 32GB built-in storage, and 3000mAh battery. Phone will be available in white, black, and red.

 

SHARP AQUOS EVER SH-04G

SHARP AQUOS EVER SH-04G Gateway

This Android phone features a 5-inch HD screen, 1280 x 720 resolution, a Quad-core 1.2GHz chip set and a 13MP camera, 2MP front-facing camera, 2GB RAM, 16GB built-in storage, and a 2450mAh battery. Just like the SHARP AQUOS ZETA SH-03G, this one is also waterproof. Available in gold, pink, white and black. Phone already runs Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box and VoLTE is also supported.

 

SONY XPERIA A4 SO-04G

SONY XPERIA A4 SO-04G

The Sony Xperia A4 SO-04G features a 4.6-inch display screen, 20MP main camera, 2MP front-facing camera, up to 12800 ISO, and some camera shake correction technology to reduce blur. Smartphone also packs a quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm processor, 16GB built-in storage, a 2600mAh battery, and a 2GB RAM.

This new Sony Xperia A4 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and is considered a worthy successor to the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. Expect this one to be available in mid-June. Phones also available in Gray, Pink, Blue, and 4 colors of White.

 

FUJITSU ARROWS NX F-04G

FUJITSU ARROWS NX F-04G

The ARROWS NX F-04G is another smartphone packed with the standard smartphone features. This one boasts an iris scanner for authentication of devices. The model will be available later this May. Specs include a 5.2-inch screen with 2560 × 1440 QHD resolution and a 21MP main camera. This one has got an iris scanner too. It’s one feature that some of the latest Japanese smartphones are getting for a more secure authentication for different purposes.

Here’s a list of other devices available from NTT DoCoMo:

• Galaxy S6 edge SC-04G
• Galaxy S6 SC-05G
• ARROWS NX F-04G
• AQUOS ZETA SH-03G
• Disney Mobile
• XperiaTM Z4 SO-03G
• AQUOS EVER SH-04G
• XperiaTM A4 SO-04G
• AQUOS PAD SH-05G
• XperiaTM Z4 Tablet SO-05G
• ARROWS F-05G,
• AQUOS SH-06G

SOURCE: Impress.co.jp (1),(2),(3), NTTDocomo

Android 5.0.2 rolls out for Sony Xperia Z2, Z3

Posted by wicked May - 6 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

While more Motorola phones are getting Android 5.1 already, Sony’s Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z3 are still being prepped for Android 5.0.2. That’s just a slight difference and at least, the Xperia Z phones are getting a taste of Lollipop unlike others not totally getting the new Android version. Sony Xperia Z2′s build number is known as 23.1.A.1.28 which rolled out to the model only yesterday. Next Xperia models to receive the same software update include the Xperia Z3, Z3 Tablet Compact, Z3 Compact, and the Xperia Z2 Tablet.

Sony has also released the changelog for the Z2 and Z3 series. It’s been confirmed that the new ‘close-all button’ for recents apps is now included. Lock screen and notification bar will no longer show “no service” when phone has coverage. The ‘close-all-button’ has been placed back in the activity menu so all apps can be closed easily at once.

Sony has also unblocked some devices with server policies like the Exchange Active Sync for e-mail. With this update, lock-screen notifications are enabled on Lollipop. The LED light is now lit across all sound modes. Even in silent mode, the LED light will still light up unlike before.

Since some devices were having problems when moving files from the built-in memory to an external miroSD card. Sony has fixed the issue to allow easier and smoother file transfers for Z2 and Z3 owners. And if you’re in Ultra stamina mode, you may notice some improvement in messaging functionality on your device as well.

VIA: XPERIA Blog

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