Sony Xperia ZL
Sony today said a handful of its Xperia smartphones should see the Android 4.4 KitKat system update arrive in the near future. Devices slated for the upgrade include the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, and Xperia Tablet Z. In addition to KitKat, the update carries over the new user interface from the PlayStation 4, which includes new animations and wallpapers, and improved status bar and quick setting tools. The update brings a handful of core apps up to date, including messaging, email, Stamina mode, the smart social camera, as well as Sony's Walkman, Album, and Movies apps. Last, the new system software adds compatibility with Sony's SmartWear products, including the SmartBand SWR10 and Lifelog app. As always, exact timing of the update's arrival will depend on device, carrier, and region.
Sony today announced that the Android 4.4 KitKat system update is now available to the Xperia Z1, Z1 Compact, and Z Ultra. In addition to the base software from Google, Sony added a number of its own tweaks to the operating system. For example, Sony added its own Status Bar and Quick Settings tools, as well as user interface elements borrowed from the PlayStation 4. The update includes the latest versions of Sony's own software and apps, such as Small Apps, Smart Social Camera, Messaging, as well as Walkman, Movies, and the Sony Entertainment Network. Last, the update includes Sony's recently-announced Xperia Themes, which are downloadable user interface packs that let Xperia device owners customize the look and feel of their handset with more than 280 possible tweaks. As always, the exact timing of the KitKat update's arrival will vary by country and carrier. Sony said it is prepared to roll out Android 4.4 KitKat to the Xperia Z, ZL, Tablet Z, and ZR from the middle of the second quarter.
Sony today revealed which devices it plans to update to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and Android 4.4 KitKat in the months ahead. Sony said it will begin updating the Xperia Z, ZL, ZR, Tablet Z, Xperia SP, Z Ultra, and Z1 next month. Exact timing will vary by region, carrier, and device. Many of the same devices are on deck to also receive Android 4.4 KitKat down the road. The Xperia Z, ZL, Tablet Z, Z Ultra, and Z1 will all be updated to the latest version of Android, though Sony didn't provide a timeframe for the KitKat update.
Sony today promised to update several of its devices to Android 4.3, though it didn't say when the update might become available. Sony said it is already making good progress with updating the Xperia Z and ZL from Android 4.1 to Android 4.2. Down the road, it will update both the Z and ZL, as well as the Xperia ZR, SP, Z Ultra, and Tablet Z to Android 4.3. Sony also said that it might update a few phones from Android 4.1 directly to Android 4.3, but it didn't name those devices. The timing for the updates will vary by region, carrier, and device.
Sony this week announced the global launch of its "my Xperia" service for locating and/or securing lost and stolen Sony phones. The service is similar to Apple's Find my iPhone, including the ability to remotely sound an alert, display a message on the screen, lock the phone, locate the phone on a map, or erase all data, including a removable memory card. The service has been in testing in Nordic countries in recent months. It will be launched globally "in the next few weeks", while "timing and availability may vary by model, market & carrier."
Sony recently made the Xperia Z available for sale in the U.S. from its online store. The Xperia Z being offered by Sony supports HSPA+, but not LTE 4G networks. The full retail price of the Z is $629.99. The FCC recently approved a version of the Xperia Z that includes support for T-Mobile USA's LTE network, but Sony is not selling that variant yet. Additionally, Sony dropped the price of the Xperia ZL, also available from its web store, from $759.99 to $629.99. Both the Xperia Z and ZL are being sold unlocked and without carrier contracts.
Cincinnati Bell today announced that it will soon offer the Sony Xperia ZL for $249.99 after rebate with a new contract. Cincinnati Bell is the first U.S. operator to offer the ZL. Sony is selling the ZL directly to U.S. consumers from its own web site for the full retail prices of $759 (LTE) and $719 (HSPA+). The ZL features a 5-inch FHD display, 13-megapixel camera with HDR video capture, and quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The ZL will be available from Cincinnati Bell's web site and retail stores beginning May 1.
Sony Mobile today announced that the Xperia ZL is available for preorder from the Sony Mobile web store. The ZL was announced at CES in January and is a slightly smaller version of the Xperia Z. It loses the Z's water resistance, changes the back shell, and adds a physical camera button. The ZL includes support for various LTE frequencies, including those used by AT&T in the U.S. The ZL features a 5-inch FHD display, 13-megapixel camera with HDR video capture, and quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Sony is offering the Xperia ZL for $759, as well as a penta-band HSPA+ version for $719. The Xperia ZL is being sold with no contract.
Sony today announced the Xperia Z, he company's new flagship for 2013, and its little brother, the ZL. Read on for our first impressions of these top-end phones.
Sony today announced the Xperia Z, its flagship Android smartphone headed into the first half of 2013. The Xperia Z includes a 5-inch display with 1920 x 1080 pixels, making it a full HD screen. It uses Sony's Bravia Engine 2 for improved clarity. The Xperia Z has a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2GB of RAM, keeping it motivated. The Xperia Z features a 13-megapixel EXMOR camera sensor with Fast Capture technology. The camera can shoot 1080p HDR (high dynamic range) HD video, as well. According to Sony, the Xperia Z has improved power efficiency through the use of something it calls STAMINA. This feature shuts off certain running applications whenever the screen is turned off. The apps then resume instantly when the screen is turned back on. All of these features are packed into a form factor that is water and dust resistant, and measures just 7.9mm thick. The Xperia Z (and a smaller version called the Xperia ZL) will ship during the first quarter of 2013. It will run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at launch, with an update to Android 4.2 to follow quickly after initial retail availability. Pricing has not yet been disclosed.