Skip to main content

Xperia XZ Premium As Much About Selling Sony As Selling Phones

Sony went wild with new smartphones at MWC today, announcing four of the five devices that had been rumoured in various pre-show leaks. Most notable was the new Xperia XZ Premium, which managed to put itself at the front of the smartphone race on specs, even if Sony's sometimes haphazard execution may mean it falls short of the top of the pile when it actually arrives around June.

The XZ Premium packs perhaps the most impressive screen ever to find its way onto a smartphone. Matching the Z5 Premium in resolution - that is, a full 4K hit - and adding HDR to the mix as well. This technology is relatively new in the living room, so to find it on a smartphone already, well that's impressive.

The big hits don't end there. Sony's Motion Eye camera makes its official debut on the XZ Premium and its stablemate, the XZs. The camera is revolutionary as it packs fast DRAM onto the sensor itself, allowing the phone to shoot video at a theoretical 960fps. Theoretical, because the DRAM is only large enough to hold 180 shots, or about a fifth of a second's worth of video.

Still, get your timing right and this is going to provide mind blowing (albeit short) slow-motion video of the type that used to be the preserve of the professionals.

That memory is also used for a new version of Sony's Timeshift Burst feature, which saves the images a second before and after you hit the shutter (so long as there is movement in frame). Predictive outdoes the older version as well as Apple and Nokia's versions by virtue of the performance that speedy memory allows.

The wows don't stop there. First phone with the new Qualcomm 835? Sort of. It's likely that Samsung will get the GS8 to customers first, but Sony was the first to announce at least.

So the Xperia XZ Premium catapults Sony to the front of the smartphone line, but for a manufacturer struggling well outside the top ten by sales volume and capturing less than 0.5% of the smartphone market, it seems a big gamble to sign off on the manufacture of what will undoubtedly be a super-premium phone.

I suspect there will be very limited numbers of the XZ Premium because it isn't a phone that's about selling in any kind of numbers. Its about acting as a halo device for the Xperia range, but more importantly a halo device for Sony itself.

The Xperia XZ Premium is mostly about showcasing the technology Sony's component divisions can deliver. The main reason for it to exist is to show off the camera technology to potential buyers at Apple, Samsung and a host of Chinese OEMs looking to boost their brand credibility.

In the end the Xperia XZ Premium is likely to be a top notch smartphone, but an even better sales window.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…