In an interview with Sony Mobile’s regional executives, we discuss about the increasing public interest on the Xperia Z, local availability of the Xperia Z and ZL, as well as why Sony are calling the Xperia Z a “superphone”.
The “Z” branding, OmniBalance and even the possibility of a Sony Windows Phone and more, after the jump!
It is not often that a Sony smartphone has stirred such a high amount of public interest. The last time this happened was probably back in 2011, with the Sony Xperia Arc. Subsequent Sony smartphones, notably from the “NXT” family of devices, while remaining true to the company’s heritage of iconic design, were largely underwhelming in terms of hardware, resulting in a less than satisfactory market response.
After a series of misses, Sony is looking to bounce back in impressive fashion with the announcement of the company’s latest Android flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z. With the Xperia Z, Sony appears to have finally produced a smartphone that blends exceptional design with highly impressive hardware. It is no surprise then, that Matthew Lang, Vice President and Head of Southeast Asia & Oceania Customer Unit, calls the Xperia Z a “superphone”, and is a “credible alternative to the big two in the industry”. He adds that the smartphone was named the Z as its way of telling the world that this is as premium as it gets for the company, and cites the VAIO Z as another example of the “Z” branding for Sony.
Jason Smith, Director of Marketing for Southeast Asia & Oceania for Sony Mobile, then explains the design language behind the Xperia Z. He mentions that the Xperia Z was designed from the ground up to have an iconic look based on a design language known as OmniBalance, where minimalism takes centrestage. The Xperia Z, Smith notes, strikes a perfect balance where the reflective glass back mirrors that of the bezel-less look of the front screen, giving the Xperia Z a smooth symmetrical feel. The sealed ports on the device further adds to the seamless feel of the Xperia Z.
In addition, Smith adds that the Xperia Z offers what the company calls a “premium superphone experience”, one that melds all of Sony’s heritage and skill into the Xperia Z. For example, the company’s expertise in producing high-quality TVs makes its way into the smartphone in the form of the Mobile Bravia Engine 2, while the highly-respected imaging prowess in Sony’s cameras is reflected in the Exmor RS for Mobile sensor found in the Xperia Z. To add to the premium experience – and to levitate itself over the competition – the Xperia Z not only offer these enhancements on the phone, but the device is also bundled with high-quality EX-series earphones over generic ones.
However, the Xperia Z isn’t just another pretty but fragile device. Smith also mentions that the Xperia Z’s skeletal frame is made from glass fibre polyamide, which is the same material that is used in the automobile industry as metal substitutes. The glass panels on the front and back is also made from tempered glass added with an anti-shatter film for extra durability.
We then discussed about Sony’s decision not to bring the Xperia ZL to Malaysia. In other neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, the ZL will be launched alongside the Xperia Z. This decision, Lang states, was made from to focus its smartphone strategy for Malaysia on the Xperia Z. At the moment, Lang confirms, there are no plans to bring the Xperia ZL to Malaysia.
As for the company’s future plans, the execs remain non-committal. When asked about the company’s plans for a Sony smartphone running on Windows Phone 8, we received a similar response. Ola Lilja Molén, Head of SEA Markets for Sony Mobile Communications, states that the company is “looking very closely” at the new platform, and that Sony “builds devices based on what the consumer wants”. He adds that the company share a close relationship with Microsoft, and the Windows Phone 8 platform is “something that we (Sony Mobile) are watching closely”.
We left our interview very impressed with Sony’s renewed focus on its mobile strategy, not to mention its handsome new flagship. Say what you will about Sony’s difficult past year or two, but it looks like the company has finally steered its ship in the right direction.