CES typically holds a lot of significance in Sony Mobile’s calendar; in 2013 it gave us the original Xperia Z, the first of the company’s truly competitive Android flagships, with its 5-inch Full HD screen and water resistance. One year on and last year’s show graced us with the Xperia Z1 Compact – a device that proved mini phones don’t have to be inferior to their full-sized counterparts.
Fast-forward 12 months and amidst Sony’s CES 2015 keynote CEO Kazuo Hirai and COO Mike Fasulo showcased a wealth of technology, from impressive televisions to new 4K cameras, a notable Google Glass rival and a $1000 music player, but Sony’s mobile efforts were strangely absent.
Whilst Sony sometimes saves its flagship unveiling for Mobile World Congress – the next big mobile event of the year, CES didn’t give us anything at all, well, save for a rather beautiful metal variant of the Sony SmartWatch 3 (which launched last year). Whilst that leaves MWC as the next potential target for the Xperia Z4’s launch, I’m now wondering whether it will, or even should appear this side of summer.
Sony, like Samsung, keeps its portfolio fresh by releasing at least two major mobile devices at each end of the year. Whilst Sammy starts the year with a flagship smartphone and ends it with a killer phablet in the case of the Galaxy S5 and Note 4 last year, Sony tends to step on its own toes by kicking the year off with a killer device, and then hurting new customers by replacing it at the tail end of autumn.
Offerings like the Z Ultra and the Compact series have tried to buck this trend but for the time being, the Xperia line is stuck in a loop of self-harm, or rather it could be. Sony will undoubtedly unveil some great mobile tech at MWC 2015, including some smartphones, but maybe that isn’t the time to give us the Xperia Z4. It’s still only a few short months after the arrival of the Z3 family and they’ve barely had any time to soak up the attention on store shelves.
If Sony can wait, the Z4 might be better received this September, the Z3 family still has so much to give and in the past Sony hasn’t always been willing to accept that.
What do you think? Does Sony’s current launch schedule make sense, or would an annual flagship launch better suit the company and consumers?