Sony showcased its new flagship phone Sony Z at a press meet in Chennai earlier this week, but an interesting piece of information that one heard was the launch of a new budget smartphone Xperia E next month.
With multiple products lined up — the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL and Xperia E — Sony India hopes to take the smartphone fight in India to the level of the dominant Samsung and the emergent Apple. According to the latest statistics from technology research firm IDC, Samsung headed the smartphone market in the last quarter of 2012 with a 38 per cent share with Apple jumping to the second spot with a 15 per cent share because of its revamped distribution strategy of selling through smaller stores, and at affordable EMI schemes. Sony was in the third spot with a 9 per cent share.
Now with Sony Z, the company’s new flagship phone priced at an MRP of Rs. 38,990, Sony India says it has kick-started a campaign to triple the sales of its Xperia brand of smart devices in the country, and challenge the likes of Samsung and recover lost ground. At the briefing, Sachin Thapar, business head of Xperia, Sony India said: “With the launch of Xperia Z, we hope to triple our sales to Rs. 3,500 crore for the financial year 2013, more than doubling the sales channel counters to 8,000 and increasing the service touch points to 300.”
In what should augur well for consumers, Sony has also decided to throw open its exhaustive Sony Music library open to users with a 6-month free unlimited streaming and download option on its 15-lakh strong catalogue of international, Bollywood and regional songs. Nokia and Samsung have already been offering such free offers on purchase of their smartphones, but in terms of range and scale, Sony Music is way more exhaustive and it is a surprise that it took the company so long to get to the decision.
Sony Z seems to be a solid flagship offering from the Japanese electronics giant, combining the best of its already available technologies: the 13 megapixel camera on it leverages its Exmor camera sensor, its display is powered by Bravia Engine 2 and its music the Walkman technology.
Powered by a Snapdragon 4 Quadcore Engine and running the Android Jelly Bean 4.1 operating system, the 5-inch full HD screen handset with a 13 mega-pixel fast-capture back camera is dust and water resistant. Last year, Sony candidly agreed that its flagship had failed to take on the likes of iPhones and the Samsung Galaxys. But with Sony Z, it seems to have hit the winning formula.
While Sony Xperia Z wowed the media with its prowess, the other scene-stealers were the Xperia E and Xperia E dual that were previewed ahead of their next month release date. The phones have essentially the same specifications — the only differentiator with the Xperia E Dual being dual-sim ready — and are competitively priced at Rs. 9,990 and Rs.10,990. The 3.5-inch HVGA touch screen phones, running a 1 Ghz single-core processor with 512 MB RAM, operate on Android Jelly Bean and will make the entry level Xperia phone. They will have a 3.2 MP rear camera and an expandable memory card slot, in addition to 4 GB internal storage.