LIVE FROM IFA 2013, BERLIN: Sony unveiled its latest premium smartphone, the Xperia Z1, touting its camera and imaging capabilities as it looks to continue the recent positive progress made by its smartphone business.
Speaking on stage at IFA, Sony president and CEO Kazuo Hirai (pictured) said the Z1 “is truly a watershed moment in Sony’s history” with expertise from the company’s digital imaging team making it “the absolute embodiment of that One Sony ethos”.
The fully waterproof Z1 features a 20.7MP camera that uses Sony’s G Lens technology, which Hirai described as “unlike anything ever seen before in a smartphone”.
A number of camera apps were also announced, including Social live which allows users to broadcast live shots to Facebook; visual search capability to provide information on landmarks and other recognisable items; and AR effect, which gives the ability to overlay animations onto photos.
Available in some markets later this month, the Z1 has a one-piece aluminium body and 5-inch HD ‘Triluminos’ screen and runs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 processor. Battery performance has been improved over previous models while NFC support means the device can be paired with the Sony QX10 and QX100 digital cameras.
“Xperia Z1 is at the heart of Sony’s vibrant and growing ecosystem of both content and hardware that will enrich your life,” Hirai said, citing the SmartWatch 2 which was announced at the GSMA’s Mobile Asia Expo in June and functions as a second screen for the Z1.
Hirai also talked up the role of developer partners which he said are “integral to evolving Sony’s mobile ecosystem and building unique experiences that complement our hardware through thousands of exciting apps and services”.
Sony’s mobile fortunes have been improving of late: it sold 9.6 million smartphones in the first quarter of 2013, up 29.7 per cent on the 7.4 million units reported a year earlier. The company forecast that smartphone sales for fiscal 2013 will hit 42 million, up from 33 million in 2012.
However, despite the increase in smartphones sales, IDC figures actually point to Sony’s smartphone market share falling from 4.7 per cent a year ago to 4 per cent in Q1 2013.