Sony warns Samsung, Apple with Dh2,499 Xperia Z launch in Dubai

It may not be a ‘game-changer’ but certainly announces Sony Mobile’s entry into the big league

Sony Mobile today launched its 2013 flagship Xperia Z and Xperia ZL in Dubai, sounding warning bells for smartphones leaders Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc.

As reported earlier by Emirates 24|7, Sony unveiled the Xperia Z and the Xperia ZL at last month's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013.

The phone will be available in the UAE in the first week of March and will be priced at Dh2,499 (Xperia Z). The ‘superphone’, as Sony Mobile prefers to call it, is a water-resistant (can be dunked into water for 30 minutes), dust-resistant (so needed in dusty Dubai) and has a stamina mode that can quadruple standby duration.

In addition, it features a one-touch mirroring or connectivity with a willing and able partner (a TV or a hifi) that projects the phone’s screen onto the larger, paired screen without any needs of cables, etc.

The device features a 5-inch 1080p HD Reality Display (1920 x 1080), 2GB of RAM, a 13MP rear camera, 2.2MP front-facing camera, 4G LTE data speeds, and a 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor.

Sony is hoping that its new Xperia phones will give Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy range of phones a run for their money.

“It’s a beautiful piece of hardware,’ said Rudinger Odenbach, V-P at Sony Mobile Communications Middle East and Africa, during his opening keynote. It is, indeed, but that might just be its biggest drawback too – however beautiful, it is still a piece of hardware and lacks the wow factor that, say, an iPhone offers (no, not the iPhone 5, but the iPhone).

“The Xperia Z is a game-changer in smartphone technology. It has generated a great deal of excitement internationally since its official launch at the CES in Las Vegas. We anticipate the ultimate range of rich user experiences offered on this stellar model from the Xperia range to increase the momentum several times over in key MENA markets,” said Odenbach.

Spyridon Gousetis, Director of Marketing, Sony Mobile Communications, Middle East and Africa, added the response that the ‘superphone’ has received from critics and potential customers since its unveiling in January was very positive.

He said the Xperia Z was being tagged as a serious contender for ‘the best smartphone brand’ and that it was being talked about as a ‘stunning response to iPhone and Galaxy’, among others.

There is no doubt in our mind that, through the new Xperia line of phones, Sony is questioning the supremacy of leaders Samsung and Apple in the smartphones domain.

But what we fear is that with a stark lack of the ‘wow’ factor, it may just end up giving competition to newbies Nokia Lumia 920, LG Optimus G, HTC One and Motorola Droid Razr.

Sony Mobile’s Business Marketing Manager Izzat Kittaneh gave a striking presentation this morning to guests and media in the ballroom of Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm Resort, and he took pains to explain that the phone company had listened to market feedback and incorporated features that will solve their biggest problems.

Sixty-six per cent of smartphone users (not just Sony smartphones but all smartphones, Kittaneh highlighted) who take their handsets for repair do so because their phones suffer damage from being dropped. So, Sony Mobile has encased the phone in tempered glass and shatterproof film – so even if it ‘breaks’, it won’t shatter.

Twenty-five per cent of smartphones are brought into the repair shop having suffered water damage. Voila, the Xperia Z is water-resistant – it will work as new when immersed in up to a metre of water for 30 minutes or less.

The remaining 8 per cent of damaged smartphones are taken in owing to vehicular damage (being in a car that experiences a collision) and other miscellaneous damages. Sony Mobile has made the phone sturdy enough to withstand above-average wear and tear.

While that is definitely a step forward, as we all know, in the world of smartphones, being reactive to user grouses – however big they might be – is hardly the way to top the charts. A company’s ability to repeatedly offer users something so compulsive that they begin to wonder how on earth were they living without it is what will propel Sony Mobile – a self-proclaimed No. 3 in the smartphones race – ahead of its extremely well-entrenched competitors.

Sadly, the Xperia Z doesn’t have that – but then, it’s just been a year that Sony Ericsson gave way to Sony Mobile, and the Xperia Z is the new firm’s first solo product (the previous one, Xperia E, was launched after the divorce but Sony Mobile officials acknowledge that it was worked upon during the Sony Ericsson era).

Xperia Z, Sony claims, it its very own indegenous smartphone... sorry, superphone. Not bad for a first attempt, but it isn't the ‘game-changer’ that Rudi claims it to be.

That said, the Xperia Z certainly announces Sony Mobile’s entry into the big league.

Samsung and Apple will do well to take the launch-warning seriously.

 

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