We’re nearing the end of the year and the smartphone world looks toward January for the start of a new season. In the last two years, Sony used a January flagship reveal to set the feature and design standards for the rest of the smartphone lineup in the year ahead. So what will Sony come up with next?
Set for a CES launch in Las Vegas this January is the rumoured Xperia Z2 code-named ‘Avatar’ featuring a 5.2″ IGZO Triluminos Display at 500 PPI, 4K video camera with 3GB RAM and a 20.7 mega-pixel camera. But there is talk of a hot new feature – a full charge in just one hour! Is it the end of multiple-hour charges? What other goodies is Sony bringing to the Avatar?
Update – More rumours and images have leaked and this time the source is a Japanese site called CtechCN. The CN in that name suggests that the source is Chinese given the .cn top-level domain yet Google translate insists it’s Japanese. (A high-five to anyone that can translate more from this site, Google translate collapsed under the pressure). You can see the translation here. Check out the latest images of the chassis under the specs.
Here are the rumored specs of the Xperia Z2/Avatar/C770X:
- 5.2″ IGZO Triluminos Display at 500 PPI
- 4K video camera
- 1080p, 1920 x 1080 full HD display resolution
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974 Chipset
- 20.7 mega-pixel camera
- 3GB RAM
- 3200 mAh battery
- Android Kitkat 4.4
- Special feature: recharging entirely within one hour, could also offer advanced wireless charging
Latest (rumoured) Xperia Avatar images, click to enlarge
Specs like that definitely have the makings of a flagship and follow on nicely from the Z1. Notice that the body follows the Z1 shape, Sony must find it a successful model to build on, like the Xperia Arc. Perhaps mid-tier phones in 2014 will take inspiration from this. You can read more about the inspiration for the Z1 in the Ask the designers section below.
It hasn’t yet been mentioned but it’s almost certain that the Z2 will be waterproof too. Will it have finger print scanning like the new iPhone or other rumored Android phones? What comes after waterproof?
Setting the trend
What is certain is that another flagship is coming and January is a hot month for Sony having launched the Xperia S (2012) and Xperia Z (2013) in the first month of the new year. Also, with Sony typically launching the first flagship in January, it tends to set the design language, feature-set and the standard of specs from screen quality to CPU as a benchmark for the future phones and tablets. This gives us a view of what’s to come. The 2013 mobile lineup is an example of this as each phone (including the few phones in the low-mid-range) follow the Xperia Z.
Ask the Z1 designers
You may have seen the interview with the designers behind the Xperia Z1. The brains behind the current flagship that were interviewed were: product planner, Asuka Matsumura; designer, Keita Hibi; material and finish designer, Nami Katayama; Sony DI camera engineer, Nobuyuki Matsushita; Sony Mobile camera engineer, Kenichi Kamezaki; experience planner, Ryoko Amano and display engineer, Fumiyuki Ito.
When asked about what makes a flagship and particularly what sets Sony smartphones apart from other flagships, product planner Asuka Matsummura had this to say:
With Xperia Z1 we were working to create a device that goes beyond the traditional bounds of a smartphone. People expect this of a modern mobile device, but we wanted to go beyond expectations and develop something that provoked sheer wonderment.
Sony’s design standards in smartphones has caught mass media attention in 2013, starting with the illustrius Xperia Z. The principles behind the curves, shapes and sizes is what Sony calls OmniBalance. Even curves on a Sony smartphone aren’t just for aesthetic pleasure; they are designed to fit the human hand and provide a slim profile or broader support wherever it feels most comfortable for the hand. Refering to the design princples behind the Z1, material and finish designer Nami Katayama said:
OmniBalance design is all about creating smartphones that balance competing requirements, so for example in Xperia Z1 we wanted to create a smartphone that was equally comfortable both upright and horizontal, with no real centre of gravity.
A signature feature of the 2013 Sony flagship smartphones: waterproof
What features do you want to see in the Xperia Z2?