Sony has spent the majority of the year focusing on waterproofing, with the Xperia Z announced at CES and the Xperia Z Ultra due to arrive in the coming months. In a more traditional play, the company looks set to turn its attention back to smartphone cameras in the next Sony flagship.
A slew of different manufacturers – including Samsung, Nokia, and HTC – have all thrown phones with an unparalleled focus on cameras into the ring – specifically, phones loaded with OIS.
It’s high time Sony, the most prolific mobile camera sensor maker around stepped up to the plate, put its imaging know how to good use and turned its attention to photographic supremacy with its upcoming “Honami”, or “i1” handset.
The “Honami” codename first popped up back in May, with VR-Zone reporting that Sony was working on a handset similar to the Xperia Z, but equipped with a 20-megapixel camera. The site claimed that Sony would be using a larger sensor on the device in an effort to increase the quality of pictures, not unlike what Nokia has done with the Lumia 1020.
The camera’s flash should be better too, using Dual LED technology, sadly, not Xenon if the leaked images are anything to go by.
With LG, Samsung, HTC and Nokia all having optical image stabilisation on board phones in their portfolios, it also makes sense Sony include it on the Honami, likely to be branded SteadyShot, in accordance with Sony’s camera branding.
And the company probably won’t stop at the hardware either. VR-Zone went on to say that Sony would be including a full suite of software modifications to take full advantage of the improved sensor, bringing across features found on its Cyber-shot line of cameras in the process. Better yet, the “Honami” could be the first smartphone to record 4K video. References to a “Super Resolution” algorithm spotted by Xperia Blog allude to videos that can be recorded at a 4000×2000 resolution. That’s backed up by recently leaked promotional material too, which refers to the rumoured handset as a “4K smartphone”.
The design of the “Honami” won’t be radically different from Sony’s 2013 lineup either. Leaked pictures from Brazilian site Techtudo, Vietnamese site Tinhte, and Chinese site, Digi-wo show that the Japanese manufacturer will be sticking to the clean, elegant, and flat design of the Xperia Z. It’s not clear what materials Sony will use for the “Honami”, but an abundance of glass is probably a safe bet. Still, the handset may not be as thin as the Xperia Z or Xperia Z Ultra – rumours have suggested that it could be as thick as 10mm in order to accomodate the larger camera sensor and OIS.
It doesn’t sound like Sony will be slacking on specifications, though. A leaked spec sheet from ePrice indicates that the “Honami” will feature a 5-inch 1080p Triluminos display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor and Adreno 330 GPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and a 3,000mAh battery. LTE, NFC, and Miracast connectivity options have also been tipped for the device, and just like Sony’s other phones from this year, the “Honami” is expected to be water and dust proof.
As for when we’ll see the handset, Sony has scheduled a press conference on September 4th at the IFA 2013 trade show. The “Honami” is expected to make an official appearance there, and Sony may also reveal its rumoured wireless camera lens accessory at the same time. The price of the phone is anyone’s guess at this point, but expect it to fall in line with flagship models from other manufacturers.
Update: Sony is set to announce the “Honami” on September 4th, but the company has pushed out a short teaser of the handset ahead of its IFA event. The design doesn’t look much different to the Xperia Z or Z Ultra, but there is a brief shot of the rumoured 20-megapixel G Lens, as well as confirmation that the handset will be waterproof.
A leaked internal document from Three – and courtesy of Engadget – also suggests that the Z1 will launch on September 24th. As if that wasn’t enough, Xperia Blog has received high-resolution press images of the handset just a few days before launch – you can see exactly what the Xperia Z1 looks like at the top of this roundup, or you can click through to Xperia Blog for more images.