You have to hand it to Sony – they keep trying. The newly announced Xperia M is a budget-oriented phone that can be obtained in a variety of neat colors. It has a small-ish 4-inch screen, and it comes in black, white, purple, and yellow (depending on model). It's not gigantic, which is a rarity these days.
Sony has taken a real beating in recent years. Even after shedding the dead weight of the Ericsson joint venture, Sony has yet to find its stride. The Xperia Z smartphone was a valiant effort, but other OEMs are overshadowing that device as 2013 drags on.
The less competitive Android tablet space might be where Sony can revive the Xperia name and win the hearts of Android users. And this is the device Sony is hoping does it: the Xperia Tablet Z.
Good news for Sony fans: the company is finally starting to roll out Jelly Bean updates to some of its more notable 2012 smartphones. The former headliner Xperia S, its brother the SL, and the camera-focused SL all have Android 4.1 waiting for them. Users will need the a Windows PC and the Sony PC Companion to download and install the updated software, which includes a refreshed kernel as well.
Sony's first attempt at making Android slates was less than a rousing success. Not one to be discouraged, Sony is back with a new Android-powered tablet called the Xperia Tablet Z. This is the big brother of the Xperia Z flagship smartphone. I've spent a little time with the Tablet Z and I have some thoughts in advance of the full review.
The device is surprisingly thin and light.
If an official AOSP build and CyanogenMod support have got you hot and bothered to try out Sony's latest entry into the tablet world, there's good news. The Xperia Tablet Z is now officially available through Sony's partner channels worldwide, according to a press release issued this morning. This much-anticipated 1080p tablet is the larger brother to the Xperia Z smartphone, in both design and hardware terms. Sony's US store still shows a pre-order doesn't list any retailers, but Amazon shows the 16GB and 32GB models at $499 and $599, respectively, arriving on Friday the 24th.
Just a day after Sony threw developers a bone by posting the Android Open Source Project code for their flagship Xperia Tablet Z, the industrious folks at CyanogenMod have one-upped them with a release of their own. Both a release candidate (RC) and a test build of CyanogenMod ROM 10.1 (Android 4.2) have been posted to the download site, ready and waiting for you to flash to your unlocked tablet.
It's no surprise that CyanogenMod is supporting the Xperia Tablet Z; Sony has been historically friendly with the developer community, and in any case, the 1080p tablet runs on the same chipset as the more far-reaching Xperia Z smartphone.
There's a lot to like about Sony's latest generation of Android devices. One od the things that most people don't like is the custom interface that Sony puts on pretty much everything. If you want to do away with it and get some sweet, clean Android Open Source Project code running on your shiny new Xperia Tablet Z, Sony is happy to oblige. They've posted an AOSP 4.2 build for the Tablet Z to GitHub, following their surprisingly open approach to other devices, most recently the Xperia Z flagship.
The Xperia Z is a pretty spiffy flagship phone, and tough as well, thanks to its IP55/IP57 Ingress Protection rating. But now there's a more specialized model coming, the Xperia ZR, designed specifically for waterproof functioning in even wetter environments. The new phone is manufactured to the higher IP55/IP58 standard, meaning that it can be safely submersed in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.
The Xperia ZR roughly follows the Z's design, getting rid of some of the slim lines and premium materials for the sake of its more waterproof chassis.
Hey Sony. It's been a while since I last ranted about how you're kinda-sorta screwing up that whole smartphone business of yours. In fact, it's been almost a year to the day. I had really hoped that by this year everyone's favorite Japanese electronics mega-corporation would have figured out the smartphone market to a reasonable extent in the US, but surprise: they haven't!
I really don't mean to single out Sony, but sometimes, it's very difficult to watch a company that is very clearly capable of making good products make such terrible decisions.
Does the HTC One leave you cold, T-Mobile customer? Tired of all the plastic on Galaxies big and small? Then look at this filing in the Federal Communication Commission's ever-expanding database of certified wireless devices. It's the Xperia Z, Sony's current flagship model, with wireless bands for T-Mobile's standard HSPA+ network and its shiny new LTE spectrum as well. That makes the stylish smartphone as close to a done deal as we're likely to get until T-Mobile starts its press campaign.