Sony's non-presence in the US smartphone market only seems to be accelerating of late, with the company having closed all of its retail stores in the country (apart from the one on Madison Avenue in NYC), shut down its online shop (it redirects all listings to 3rd party retailers), and cancelled its only known upcoming device. This, alongside increasingly dismal sales performance for Xperia phones even outside America, tends to paint a not-nice picture of the company's smartphone division.
But Sony Pictures lives on, and with it, the blockbuster Daniel Craig Bond franchise. The upcoming 007 film Spectre will, of course, feature a lot of Sony product placement, including the generally well-liked Xperia Z5...
Sony's open device project was launched to allow developers to run AOSP Android builds on many of Sony's devices. The company has been keeping up the software support for this program, and has even added new devices frequently. Now, Sony's latest flagships are joining the open initiative. You can grab the Marshmallow software binaries for the Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact right now.
Sony began tinkering with a cleaner build of Android 5.1 earlier this year with the help of a few hundred beta testers in Sweden. The so-called Sony Concept for Android program is moving forward today with an expansion to more markets and a bump up to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Slots are limited (increased from last time), and it's not available in all regions. For once, it's the US that's getting left out.
Google has shown off what's in Android 6.0. Factory images and over-the-air updates are popping up for Nexus devices. That means the time is ripe for smartphone makers to announce when they're going to bring Marshmallow to their devices.
The Xperia Z5 is set to hit the market soon with a 5.2 inch 1080p display, a Snapdragon 810 chip, 3GB of RAM, and Android 5.1. But what is most relevant here is that 23MP camera on the back, which can capture 5520 by 4120 images. Sony is well known for its camera technology, and it looks like the Xperia Z5 doesn't disappoint.
Remember that time Verizon announced it will carry a version of the Xperia Z4 called the Xperia Z4v three months ago? And said it would be out "this summer?" Well, summer ends in exactly... tomorrow, and the phone still isn't out. It was actually allegedly supposed to be released over a month ago, but now any kind of launch before October seems highly unlikely. Some guy got one anyway (somehow) and reviewed it in this video on YouTube. Verizon's site, by the way, says the phone is still "coming soon."
As I hope we can all agree, this is tremendously, mind-bendingly dumb for several reasons.
If you've got a Sony Smartwatch 3, then you probably already know about this issue: the watch gets hot, and the battery plummets. If you happen to not notice that the watch is in fact overheating, then the battery can easily go dead within a couple of hours, which is ridiculously annoying.As an owner of said smartwatch, I hate that some days I can hit the bed with 68% of my watch's battery life left, and others it's at 13% before 2:00PM.
Here's the thing, though: Google and Sony both know about this issue. It's been well documentedin Google's Product Forums, and a Sony employee even posted on XDA with "possible fixes" for the drain issue, noting that Sony was looking into it.
Story time. I've been a technology blogger for almost exactly four years now, and one of my first video assignments was to compare AT&T's first crop of LTE Android phones, the Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket and the HTC Vivid. At the time (November 2011) they were big deals. Throughout a 7-minute video, I kept calling the HTC Vivid the "HTC View," confusing it for a similarly-named but somewhat different device... a tablet on Sprint that came out earlier that year. No, I'm not going to link to it; if you're that eager to see me make an idiot out of myself on a poorly-shot video, you can Google it.
Sony is one of the very rare companies who know how to balance the right level of features between smaller and larger devices. Their newly announced Z5 series has a very powerful Z5 Compact, a good Z5, and a slightly fluffed up Z5 Premium, all without compromising on processor, RAM, or camera performance.
However, that comes at a price and we're just starting to discover what the tag will be on these smartphones. Sony's announcement didn't include any pricing details, but retailers all across Europe and the UK have begun listing the different Z5 devices on their sites. Here are the known amounts of euros and pounds you should part with: