LIVE FROM IFA 2015: Sony used IFA 2015 to re-assert itself in the competitive smartphone space, unveiling a new flagship line that includes “the world’s first 4K smartphone”.
With Sony using its Mobile World Congress press event back in March to assert its continued commitment to mobile, nevertheless it has been some time since the company’s last high-profile smartphone launch. And in the meantime, as it has refocused its activities, its performance has suffered.
The company yesterday (Wednesday) unveiled Xperia Z5, the smaller screen Xperia Z5 Compact, and 4K-touting Z5 Premium.
The Z5 range features a new 23MP camera, Sony’s first “completely re-imagined” module since Xperia Z1. The company claimed the fastest autofocus in a smartphone, advancements in low-light performance, and an improvement of its Steady Shot technology with enhanced video.
Also included on the spec sheet is a 5MP front-facing camera.
New for Z5 is a fingerprint sensor integrated into the side-mounted power button, marking the debut of a feature supported by a number of rival devices.
Z5 has a 5.2-inch full-HD screen, and is available in white, black, gold and green. Z5 Compact has a 4.6-inch HD (720 pixel) screen, and is available in yellow and coral as well as black and white.
Z5 Premium has a 5.5-inch 4K display, and will be offered in chrome, gold and black.
Z5 and Z5 Premium include 3GB of RAM and “up to 32GB” of onboard storage, with support for up to 200GB microSD card. Z5 Compact has 2GB of RAM and up to 32GB of storage, again with microSD expansion.
The devices use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor.
Z5 and Z5 Compact will launch globally from October, with Z5 Premium following in November. Z5 and Z5 Premium will also be available in dual-SIM versions.
Analyst reaction to the new range was mixed. “IHS expects these strong new Sony smartphones to have limited effect on Sony’s overall shipments in the short term. IHS forecasts Sony will ship 27 million smartphones in 2015, compared with 40 million in 2014,” noted the research firm’s Ian Fogg.
“However, Sony’s goal of improving profitability in preference to unit shipment volumes will be supported by these high quality flagship models because margins are stronger at this end of the market than at lower price points.”
Also unveiled was the second generation of Sony’s Smartband, which it described as a “multi-sensor lifelogger that provides full-scale insights about your fitness, wellbeing and stress levels”.
The device continues the company’s use of a “core” unit with accelerometer and heart rate sensors which work together to monitor pulse and heart rate variability.
It also uses “subtle vibrating notifications and bright pulsing RGB LEDs” for alerts, and enables the control of music on smartphones or tablets with taps to play, pause and skip through tracks.
Smartband 2 also offers up to two days battery life and IP68 waterproofing.
It will come in black and white at launch, with two other colours to follow – pink and indigo. Because it has the same core footprint as the original Smartband, it can also be used with existing accessories.
It is available in 60 countries worldwide for €119.