Sony's relationship with "pure" Android is an interesting one. As a company they generally make it easy to root or otherwise modify their phones or tablets, with a few notable qualifiers. The AOSP for Xperia project, which provides the basic tools for building standard Android ROMs on popular devices, is also one way that Sony stays relevant for those who buy phones with the intent to add aftermarket software. Today it gets two new flagship options, the older Xperia Z1 and Z2.
With a new Sony smartphone comes a new Sony ad campaign, and the Z3's has just been released in the form of (so far) eight videos published on the company's Xperia YouTube channel. While seven of the spots are actually one and the same product storyline edited differently to showcase various features, one of the ads really did strike me as genuinely good, which is pasted below.
It's 3 minutes or so long, so it's a bit of a lengthy video as an ad, but I think Sony really nails the "product as hero" thing here with just the right mix of emotion (eg, not going overboard) and real human interest story.
It's great that OEMs are using the Play Store to distribute apps to their devices these days. However, Sony might be taking it a little far with a trio of new apps for Xperia devices. AR fun, Ninja, and Sticker Creator exist now, and no amount of wishing will make them go away.
All three of these apps are ways to add stuff to your pictures within the Sony camera app.
Here at IFA 2014 in Berlin, Sony is announcing new entries to its Xperia smartphone line at all levels. The flagship Z series, last updated only six months ago at Mobile World Congress, has been bolstered with the Xperia Z3. This device is the tip top of Sony's line, though in terms of sheer hardware it's an evolution rather than a revolution. The 5.2-inch 1080p screen, Snapdragon 801 processor (bumped up to 2.5Ghz), and 20.7MP rear camera are similar to the last iteration, but the body is much thinner at 7.3mm.
Sources are saying that Sprint will soon offer a Sony smartphone in the US for the first time. We can't tell you who these sources are, but they're the kind that have spoken to Reuters and The Wall Street Journal in two separate reports. And the device apparently won't be cheap either. We're talking about an upcoming Xperia flagship. With Sony expected to unveil the Z3 at IFA next week, well, you can fill in the blanks from here.
Sony has announced the Xperia M2 Aqua, a variant of the M2 that it's marketing as "the waterproof smartphone for everyone." It's Sony's first water-resistant phone with mid-range specs, and it's apparently ready to swim with the best of them.
In the small print, we see that the Xperia M2 Aqua is IP65 and IP68 compliant, meaning that it can withstand dust and survive being kept under 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.
Megapixels, megashmixels. We could debate for near eternity over which smartphone has the best camera, but sometimes all that really matters is which is the most fun. Sony wants you to think its cameras are, so the company has updated its augmented reality camera app and tossed in an additional six new themes for good measure.
The AR Effect app lets certain Sony Xperia smartphone owners add objects and effects to their photos, fundamentally altering what is going on in the shot.
Some trends are awesome, and some are not so much. This one counts as the former. Android manufacturers have increasingly turned to the Play Store for distributing updates to their core Android apps. Sony's been doing this for a while now, and the Xperia Keyboard is its latest upload.
Back at this year's Mobile World Congress, Sony unveiled its new SmartBand SWR10 activity tracker (like everyone else) and a Lifelog app to go with it. Together, the pair will be able to track your location, activities, and certain social data. Sony still has the SmartBand listed as coming soon on its site (despite Newegg showing it as in-stock and the accessory being temporarily available on Amazon last month), but the company has now released the Lifelog companion app into the Play Store.
At this point pretty much everything about Sony's next flagship phone has been spoiled except for the name. The Xperia D6503 "Sirius," which will almost certainly be getting a much less interesting title when it's officially revealed, has had multiple large leaks. A new 12-minute video shows off pretty much everything about the included software.