Last week’s CES 2013 tradeshow saw the launch of a raft of new handsets including the Sony Xperia Z from Sony, a device that marks a change in direction from the Japanese manufacturer as it looks to place greater focus on the high-end market.
Sony’s latest flagship is perhaps the most premium device ever seen from the firm and could be just the ticket to kick-start this new strategy.
Specs include a quad-core, 1.5GHz processor – the first of its kind to feature on a Sony device, Android Jelly Bean software, and a headlining 5-inch full HD display, one of the first to be seen on a smartphone.
It certainly seems like there’s many firsts for Sony with the Xperia Z, possibly as a result of it recognising that if it ever wants to compete with the big boys like Samsung, it needs to set its sights on producing more premium devices.
Sony’s overall sales figures during 2012 left it hovering in third place behind Samsung and Apple, which over the past 12 months have consolidated their positions at the top of the smartphone manufacturer pile.
Although Sony’s devices have gradually improved over time, it hasn’t been able to compete directly with these manufactures, most notably Samsung and its stable of Android devices.
Samsung’s main weapon in the race for smartphone supremacy is its Galaxy range – particularly the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note II. Both of these devices have taken the market by storm, thanks to their big, bright displays and abundance of attention-grabbing features such as Pop-up Play, and S-Voice.
Recent figures reveal Galaxy S III sales have now topped a staggering 40 million units worldwide, boosting the Korean firm’s overall sales of the entire Galaxy range to 100 million.
After such a successful year it will be interesting to see how Samsung reacts to Sony’s new flagship. Many commentators suggest that the perceived challenge will only incubate innovation during 2013. Indeed, reports suggest that flexible screens and eight-core processors are already being readied to feature in future Samsung devices.
It seems the Xperia Z has come at just the right time for Sony and hopefully marks the beginning of a resurgence for the company. The device is already doing much better than its previous flagship handset, the dual-core Xperia T, released in September last year and which failed to make an impact at a time when quad-cores were coming to the fore.
With this in mind we thought we’d enquire as to whether you think Sony has what it takes to go up against Samsung. A poll we’ve been running on the Dialaphone blog for the past week shows that most of our readers believe the Xperia Z has what it takes to rival Samsung in the high-end smartphone market.
It certainly seems that the majority believe Sony is on to a real winner with its new flagship. Having asked the same question on the Dialaphone Facebook page, this looks to be the general consensus across the board. Facebook user Si Brown, who has owned three Xperia devices in the past demonstrated his excitement for the Xperia Z commenting: “It’s basically the best phone ever made. The spec on that should kill all competition.”
Many others agree, with fellow Facebook user Craig Etheridge commenting: “The S4 will have to be pretty awesome to beat this.”
But, while the focus is predominantly on Sony’s battle to reach the heights seen by Samsung, Edd Twinn took to our Facebook page to point out that the Korean firm might not be Sony’s only competition. He said: “It will never be better than a Windows Phone.”
As for our opinion, we don’t think any manufacturer should be ruled out as a viable rival to Samsung, as each manufacturer looks to take the lead on innovation and bring completely new wares to the table.
This time round, opinion would suggest that Sony has done just that and it’s powerful new flagship has at least pushed the manufacturer to the forefront of the smartphone buying public’s mind. But, while it’s clear Sony has gone the extra mile with the Xperia Z if it really wants to cement its place at the high-end of the market and compete with the Android elite, innovation will be key to its success.