Android 5.0 has only been official for about 24 hours now, and already OEMs are lining up to explain their upgrade paths. Yesterday was Motorola, and today Sony is laying its cards on the table. Sony has a lot of cards. The company has confirmed that all its Z series devices will get Android Lollipop. That's a whole mess of phones.
Sony's latest and greatest has been expected on T-Mobile for a few weeks, but now it's official. The Xperia Z3 will be available from T-Mobile on October 29th in stores. However, there's an online-only pre-sale kicking off on October 15th, meaning you can get the phone shipped before it's in stores.
The Xperia Z3 has the same 20.7MP camera most of Sony's recent phones have used, but the other specs are a bit improved with a 5.2-inch 1080p screen, 3100mAh battery, Snapdragon 801, and 3GB of RAM.
Sony releases a new flagship smartphone roughly every other month. That's a complete estimate. Sony isn't on my radar much because its phones often don't usually come to US carriers, and when they do, it's months late. Such is not the case with the new Xperia Z3, which is coming to Verizon as the Z3v later this month.
When Google first pulled the lever on Chromecast's screen casting, the functionality was limited to a select number of devices. Well, it still is, but the list is slowly growing, and we've noticed that the Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact have made their presence known towards the bottom. This puts them in the same exclusive club as a number of Nexus, Galaxy, One, and G devices (boy is it awkward to say these names without the manufacturer attached).
You know those scary warnings that show up whenever you unlock the bootloader on a phone? "We can't be held responsible... blah blah... reduced functionality... blah... fiery death... blah blah blah." Sometimes they aren't kidding. Users who have unlocked the new Xperia Z3 Compact have found that low-light camera performance drops considerably. It turns out to be because of DRM in Sony's image signal processing.
Recently there's been arumor that Sony is planning on releasing stock AOSP ROMs (clean, Nexus-style builds of Android) for some of its high-end phones and tablets. It's easy to understand why Sony in particular might attract that kind of attention: the company has better support for aftermarket development than most, promptly releasing binaries and source code on the company's own GitHub and even some developer-grade AOSP builds. But as for consumer-ready, finished and fully supported AOSP ROMs?
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 made its exit from the Play Store device section a few months ago, but there are still some Google Play Edition Sony Xperia Z Ultras floating around out there. Expansys has the device in stock for just $269.99, but it's not exactly new.
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.
When Sony announced that the PlayStation 4's Remote Play feature would be available to Android phones and tablets in November, gamers got excited... right up to the point where they found out that the feature would be exclusive to the new Xperia Z3 line. While the Z3, Z3 Compact, and Z3 Tablet Compact look like fine machines, that isn't much consolation if you can't afford them or can't even find them in your country.