Sony Xperia Z1 / Z1s
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 knows that some people prefer smaller smartphones. That's why it shrunk the dimensions of the Xperia Z1 to create the Z1 Compact. Don't let the Z1 Compact's small size fool you, however; it's quite a powerhouse.
Sony announced the Xperia Z1S for T-Mobile, today. The device impresses with its waterproof design and high build quality. Here are Phone Scoop's first impressions.
T-Mobile today announced that it will sell the Sony Xperia Z1S smartphone. The Z1S is a version of the Z1 that has been optimized for T-Mobile's network and has several other, minor hardware adjustments. The Z1 was first announced in September 2013. The Xperia Z1S features a 20.7-megapixel camera that has BIONZ for mobile image processing engine, a G Lens, and a 1/2.3-inch camera sensor. The camera has a burst mode than shoots 61 images: 30 before you press the shutter button, 1 when you press the shutter button, and 30 more after the shutter button has been pressed. Other camera features include an augmented reality mode that puts subjects in themed locations, such as with dinosaurs. The Z1S has a 5-inch full HD display with TriLuminos and X-Reality processing engines. It is powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM, and comes with 16GB of internal storage. It is waterproof and can stand up to 30 minutes in 4.9 feet of water. It includes Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0LE. It runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. T-Mobile said customers can preorder the Xperia Z1S beginning January 13 and it will be available online and in stores beginning January 22. T-Mobile is offering the device for $0 down with 24 monthly payments of $23 with the Simple Choice Plan. Further, Sony is offering customers who by the Xperia Z1S and PlayStation 4 a $100 Visa gift card. Last, the device comes with six free movie downloads from Sony's Video Unlimited service, as well as a 60-day free trial of Music Unlimited.
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 launched the Xperia Z Ultra and Z1 Android smartphones, and the SmartWatch 2 in the U.S. The company is selling all three devices directly to consumers via its online store and other select e-tailers. The Z Ultra (pictured) features a 6.4-inch full HD TriLuminos display, slim design, 8-megapixel camera with Exmor RS sensor, resistance to water and dust, and a stylus. The Z Ultra costs $649.99 for the HSPA+ model or $679.99 for the LTE model. The LTE model supports bands 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 17. The Z1 features a 5-inch full HD TriLuminos display, dust and water resistance, 20.7-megapixel camera with Exmor RS sensor, and a slim design. The Z1 costs $669.99. It supports HSPA+, but not LTE. Both phones are available in black, white, or purple. Last, Sony is now selling its second-generation smartwatch, the SmartWatch 2, to U.S. consumers through its web store. The SmartWatch 2 connects to Android smartphones via NFC/Bluetooth and can be used to view notifications, accept/reject calls, control the media player, and record workouts. It is water resistant and offers two or three days of battery life. The SmartWatch 2 costs $199.99.
Sony CEO Kaz Hirai today said the company is in no rush to conquer the U.S. smartphone market, nor China's. "Those two are the most important areas for us and we'll put substantial resources there. But not yet for the U.S. and China," said Hirai, speaking to journalists in Japan. "It's not realistic to try to do everything at once. In the U.S. we'll start gradually." Sony wants its smartphones to be the third-best selling devices worldwide, behind the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphones. The company has historically had poor traction in the U.S. At the moment, T-Mobile is the only U.S. carrier selling Sony's flagship Xperia Z smartphone, while Apple and Samsung's phones are available at all four of the major carriers. Rather than focus on tackling U.S. and China head on, Hirai said Sony is first aiming to win over consumers in Europe and its home market of Japan. Hirai didn't indicate when Sony might begin to make more effort in winning over U.S. smartphone buyers.
Sony updated its flagship device with a better camera and smoother design.
Sony today announced the Xperia Z1, an Android smartphone that builds on the premium experience offered by the Z. It looks similar to the Z, but loses the sharp edges and replaces them with smooth, rounded edges instead. The Z1 features a 20.7-megapixel camera that has a BIONZ for mobile image processing engine, a G Lens, and a 1/2.3-inch camera sensor. The camera has a burst mode than shoots 61 images: 30 before you press the shutter button, 1 when you press the shutter button, and 30 more after the shutter button has been pressed. Other camera features include an augmented reality mode that puts subjects in themed locations, such as with dinosaurs. The Z1 has a 5-inch full HD display with TriLuminos and X-Reality processing engines. It is powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM, and comes with 16GB of internal storage. Like the Xperia Z, the Z1 is water resistant. It can stand in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. It includes Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0LE. It runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and will be available worldwide later this month.