Sony has announced that the latest version of KitKat is now rolling out to many of its Xperia products with Z in their name. That includes the Z, the ZL, the ZR, and the Tablet Z. For the confused, no, I'm not talking about smearing chocolate all over a Wii U controller. Sony just really likes the final letter of the alphabet, and it's now delivering Android 4.4.4 to four devices all bearing Z in their names.
We had a chance to take a few minutes with Sony's latest and greatest in Berlin earlier today, and I have to say: we left impressed. While the company's smartphones have had basically zero market penetration in the US (aside from on T-Mobile), the Z1 and Z2 were both fine flagship devices when stacked up against their contemporary competitors.
The Z3 isn't a big upgrade over the Z2, for sure, but it does have a few noteworthy refinements.
For years now, we've been drooling over Sony's high-end hardware and gorgeous industrial design, only to be bummed since the phones rarely come to the United States. Sony and T-Mobile have a pretty good relationship, as evidenced by yesterday's announcement that the new Xperia Z3 would launch on the carrier in the US. But according to a recent post from PC Mag, Verizon may be getting some Sony phone hardware for the first time in years.
Sony's information on the Xperia Z3 and related devices has been coming out fast and furious, but we've been left waiting to hear about which of these devices will actually make it over to the US. Well, T-Mobile has announced that it will offer the Z3 online and in stores this fall.
No US carrier picked up the Z2, but T-Mobile carried the Z1s previously, so this announcement isn't without precedent.
Tucked into the flurry of news around Sony's trio of new Xperia Z3 devices was the fact that they'll be the first non-gaming gadgets to use the company's proprietary PlayStation 4 Remote Play system. The flagship Xperia Z3, high-powered "mini" Xperia Z3 Compact, and the 8-inch Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact will be able to stream PS4 games and play them across a home Wi-Fi network later this year. The PS4 can already stream gameplay to the PlayStation Vita.
Sony turned heads last year when it introduced the QX family of add-on lenses, which claimed to add DSLR-style high-resolution photography to any Android smartphone. The QX10 and QX100 lenses were met with a bit of skepticism on release thanks to their high price and strange form factor, but the core idea is still intriguing. Intriguing enough for the company to give it another go-round, anyway, and come out swinging with a new mounting system in addition to a new all-in-one lens.
Sony's been in the Android-powered smartwatch game for years now, but with the release of the third iteration of its straightforwardly-named "SmartWatch" line, the company is transitioning to Android Wear.
The SmartWatch 3 is an unapologetically plastic product. Rather than the usual black brick with a cheap strap, the band on Sony's watch comes in to wrap around the body of the device. This provides it with a look that sets it apart from the competition, though this also means it will probably show more wear and tear with age.
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.
It's hard to believe something as wacky as Sony's QX series of add-on smartphone lenses could be considered "conventional." But compared to the QX1 leaked yesterday, which may allow any Sony E-series lens to mount onto a standard phone, the new QX30 is rather plain. Sony Alpha Rumors posted shots of the newest member of the QX family, which includes an impressive 30x optical zoom (4.3mm-129mm) in the same form factor.