Though most of the details about the device have leaked over the past month, Sony today officially unveiled its new Xperia Z1 smartphone at the IFA conference. Sony CEO Kaz Hirai took to the stage and announced the product along with a host of others.
The Z1 will now have a 5-inch screen to go with its 2.2Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor. Other hardware includes 2GB of RAM, a 3,000mAh battery, and 16GB of built-in storage, with a microSD card slot for expansion. The device is also waterproof, a feature Sony has been touting for many of its products for some time now.
To differentiate the Z1 from other high-end smartphones, Sony has focused on putting a high-end camera into the device. The rear camera in the Z1 has a 20.7MP CMOS image sensor that Sony is calling "high sensitivity." The wide-angle 27mm lens is set at F2.0. Sony has also included software to take advantage of the camera, including some augmented reality, social media, and photo search features. Sony is calling it "the world's leading camera in a smartphone," though it doesn't quite match the recently announced Nokia Lumia 1020's crazy 41MP camera.
“Xperia Z1 represents a significant milestone for Sony in our continued efforts to deliver unforgettable experiences to our consumers,” said Kunimasa Suzuki, CEO of Sony Mobile. “Not only by bringing the power of Sony to the smartphone and through close collaboration with our partners but by setting a new standard in premium smartphones.”
"New standard" might be overselling it a bit, but the Z1 does appear to be yet another solid high-end Android smartphone. As HTC has proven, however, even fantastic hardware isn't enough to break Samsung's grip on the Android smartphone market. In an attempt to avoid HTC's fate, Sony is emphasizing the Z1's integration within an entire product ecosystem, including tablets, stereos, walkman mp3 players, a new smart watch, and its PlayStation Mobile game store.