When you gather all these devices together for an update, there's no doubt Sony really loves the letter Z. Apparently it also loves KitKat, because all these devices are about to get their Android 4.4. KitKat updates. It's more than a number in this case – Sony has made some substantial tweaks.
Sony has announced the Xperia A2 in Japan, where it will be available for NTT DoCoMo. This is the phone that could potentially be branded as the Z2 Compact if it ships internationally, though it's far more similar to the Z1 Compact in power and size than the Z2. This device appears to be more about offering a more affordable offering than the same device in a smaller package.
The water and dust resistant Xperia A2 has a 4.3-inch display, a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon MSM8974 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage supplemented by a microSD card slot.
The Sony Smartwatch 2 companion app received an update last month that introduced a new watch face editor and some other enhancements. Now Sony is updating its SDK for developers to take advantage of these goodies. With the Sony Add-on SDK 3.0, developers can enable their apps to run in low-power mode, extending how long a user can go before having to plug in their watch. The change lets the app run in the foreground while the backlight is off.
Today's phones are big. They're practically trying to be HDTVs, which makes it hard to get them into your pants, and even harder to get them out. So Sony is releasing a teeny tiny phone for your phone that can answer calls with a microphone and a speaker. Insert Xzibit joke here. The BRH10 was shown off at Mobile World Congress back in February, and it's on pre-order at a few places, but you can't buy it yet.
The Xperia Z Ultra is an odd proposal from a hardware perspective. The huge 6.4" 1080p screen, Snapdragon 800 processor, and 2GB of RAM say "high end," while the 8MP rear camera lacking a flash seems a bit down-market. Perhaps that has something to do with possibly tepid sales at the phone's $679 price point... and also Sony's decision to lower it. XperiaBlog reports that the price for the phone has been dropped to $449.99.
“A mock-up image was mistakenly posted to the Sony Mobile Google+ page. The image has since been removed and we apologize for any confusion this may have caused. For our U.S. customers eager to find out more information about the availability of Xperia Z2, we are excited to share that the device will be coming to the U.S.
Taking the background in an image and blurring it is currently the big thing in mobile photography. HTC touted the feature when raving about the M8's duo camera. Google added a similar lens blur effect in the camera app it recently uploaded to the Play Store. Samsung, too, unsurprisingly packed this feature in alongside the plethora of others it crams into the Galaxy S5. Now Sony has uploaded its pre-existing effort to the Play Store, where it can more easily roll out future updates.
It doesn't matter which phone a Sony QX10 or QX100 owner uses, these cameras are better. The drawback is that the user experience is nothing short of awkward. One particular issue is slow NFC connection times, making it challenging to capture spontaneous shots (and aren't those the best kind?). Fortunately, this is the type of problem an update can address. Firmware version 3.0 is now available for both models, doing precisely that.
Sony has steadfastly refused to abandon its smart watch plans for Android Wear, which is totally its call. It might not work out well down the road, but you can get your hands on Sony's latest Smartwatch SW2 right now on the cheap. How cheap? Just $119.99 with free shipping (continental US only).