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. The carrier may be the least surprising one to pick up the phone, but it's still comforting to know for sure that at least one launch partner is set in stone.
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.
Gamers will need a standard Dual Shock 4 controller to make the best of it, but Sony will sell a little attachment device that lets you clip your phone onto the controller, sort of like the various MOGA controllers.
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.
First up is the QX1. In contrast with the other QX series gadgets, this is not an integrated lens-and-sensor combo, it's a lens mount containing only a 20.1-megapixel APS-C image sensor, an E-series mounting bracket, a flash module, and all the various guts needed to take and store photos.
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. Fortunately, the strap is still swappable.
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. The body is also more rounded, which should help with those somewhat uncomfortable squared-off shoulders.
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.
The lens-and-sensor combo is otherwise similar to the previous QX models, though we don't know what model or quality of camera sensor it will be using. The leaked press images show an F-stop range of 3.5-6.3, which is pretty typical of a mid-range DSLR or mirrorless camera lens with this range of zoom.
The Sony leaks are not over yet—Xperia Blog has what appears to be a press shot of the Xperia Z3 in copper, as well as a glimpse of Sony's new SmartBand. With an e-ink screen, this accessory will probably get mega-long battery life.
Sony's QX100 and QX10 lenses are add-on gadgets that purport to give your phone DSLR-quality imaging capabilities. While the concept of those devices is more interesting than their execution, it looks like Sony is set to change the game with its next version. Photos of the "ILCE-QX1" leaked by Sony Alpha Rumors show what's basically an independent E-mount module, which might just support any of the various Sony E-mount lenses already on the market.
A little context: Sony has been selling high-end mirrorless cameras for years. They're basically tiny versions of DSLR cameras, made more compact by a system that exposes the digital camera sensor to direct light from the lens.
It's been less than six months since Sony announced the top-of-the-line Xperia Z2 back at Mobile World Congress, but it looks like the company may be ready to release yet another iteration at IFA in Berlin. A Facebook fan page (reported by the reliable XperiaBlog) posted photos of what looks a lot like the next Xperia superphone, the Z3. A sticker on the device includes specifications, though there's no way to confirm them. Don't get too excited; it looks like a pretty tepid update.
According to the leak, the Xperia Z3 uses a Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage space plus a MicroSD card, a 5.2" 1080p screen, Sony's 20-megapixel Exmor camera sensor, and a 3100mAh battery.
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. The phone will reportedly be available in time for winter holiday season.
Our hands-on look at the Xperia Z2, which we don't expect the Z3 to deviate from all that much
Sprint will carry the handset in the US, while its owner SoftBank will provide the phone in Japan.