Xperia A’s huge success in Japan shows why Sony was wrong holding back on the Xperia ZR

by XB on 13th August 2013

in Xperia - Japan Models, Xperia ZR

Xperia ABloomberg Japan recently reported that the Xperia A (SO-04E) is selling like hot cakes for NTT DoCoMo. Senior Executive Vice President, Kazuto Tsubouchi, told Bloomberg in an interview that the Xperia A is well on track to reaching two million units sold by the end of September. As at 4 August, it had already sold 1.24 million units. Quite impressive since it only launched in mid-May.

Partly this has been driven by a ‘top two’ strategy of focusing on two handsets (the other being the Galaxy S 4) as well as promotional discounts, but there’s no denying the attraction of the handset. In fact the Xperia A has been outselling the Galaxy S4 pretty much 2:1. This makes it even more perplexing to us why Sony only gave the western equivalent of the Xperia A, the Xperia ZR, such a limited global release.

The Xperia ZR is clearly an attractive handset to many and we have had many emails asking us if it is coming out to a particular country. Yes, we can understand Sony’s marketing dollars are focused on the Xperia Z/ZL (and soon the Honami), but at a decent price point, the Xperia ZR would have done very well for Sony. Anyway, Sony has made its decision and it will be interesting to see whether it has any similar-specced handsets that it plans to push at IFA.

  • lovebmw

    Impressive, but soon we will be hearing about how honami is doing hehe…

  • Thorsten

    1080p for mobile phones is a huge overkill IMO. 720p is much more suitable for the small form factor. I can hardly see any difference between my xperia z and my brother’s xperia s. 1080p drains a lot of battery too

  • poke612

    Hong kong has zr.
    But i did not find that its sale goes well in hk.
    Mainly because of its semi-mid range spec (the 720p tft is problematic)

    Moreover Japanese prefer sony than a samsung is very understandable, consider Japan’s mix feelings witb korean goods…..

    For instead hong kong where all phone are imported. I can tell, s4 is sold much more then zr in numbers.

    So i think sony marketing strategy on zr is reasonable and logical.

  • Jonfensu

    Its sooo expensive. In online sellers is $500. Even in my country (Colombia) the ZL is $5 cheaper, and the SP $150, Thats the problem. I would like see a ZR without IP certification for $400 or less

  • Max

    Definitely a good move to limit ZR. It undercuts the Z at a cheap price while also muscling out the SP which has a higher margin. At a high price it is unattractive because of the smaller screen and large size.

    Sony were right, ZR is a Japanese phenomenon.

  • xperiakita

    Many our blog reader also questioned about the avaibility of Xperia ZR in Indonesia. Sony Mobile Indonesia said Xperia ZR sale-lately in the country because the handset was distributed largely in Japan. Here’s the statement from Sony Mobile Indonesia.

  • Cristi13

    At least they can outsell samsung in their own country. But I’m still surprised by Samsung’s popularity in Japan.

  • Cristi13

    At least they can outsell samsung in their own country. But I’m still surprised by Samsung’s popularity in Japan.

  • Herman

    1080p displays are mostly good for devices the size of the Xperia Z Ultra and higher.
    And I agree that, if you only look at resolution, my Xperia S’ display is good enough (at 4.3″).

  • Bradley

    I live in Japan. You’ll be surprised that Samsung is also popular in Japan. Their galaxy smartphones (and iphones) outsell xperia smartphones UNTIL xperia A came out. Sony xperias are now catching up in terms of sales in Japan.

  • ereg

    I thought the Japanese don’t really like Sony. There have been articles before about Japan’s disfavor for Sony. Sony used to be so big that it earned so many haters.

    Looks like the Japanese are practical enough to ditch the 1080p display for a faster performance, long battery life, and water proofing.

  • HardyHarHar

    Xperia ZR or SP + Snapdragon 800 + 2GB RAM + IR remote + camera upgrade = 100x better than the upcoming honami.

  • AeroMiku

    LOL! In Malaysia, Xperia ZL priced at RM1500/U$D 450 include gov tax.

  • Billy de Fretes

    ZR will have same fate with xperia v in indonesia. sony mobile indonesia since few months ago posting ZR as coming soon but until today, it’s still not available. lots of my friend change to xperia sp.
    maybe this is the worst decision from sony.

  • Billy de Fretes

    jawaban sony indonesia klise.. tunggu saja updatenya.. padahal xperia A dan ZR ada perbedaan dan harusnya sony sudah mengantisipasi itu..

  • scw

    Docomo actually discon Xperia Z so unless you want other brand there is no other choice.

  • My Z stays for almost a day, but you’re right about the draining

  • another257

    I think the reason of ZR failed in Hong Kong is that it is quite expensive.
    Paying more HKD500($65) you can get a Z (with a superior front cam, brilliant headphone),
    who will go for a ZR honestly.

  • Timothy Crayon

    I’m afraid Samsung S4 is not as popular as you said in Hong Kong. As there are 3 fatal mulfunctions incidents happened in Hong Kong. (Including S3, Note II and S4)
    Carriers in Hong Kong are busy to launch promotions to sell their S4 as soon as possible, however, we Hongkongers are not interested in this Samsung S4, most of the customers willing to spend money to buy this model are the mainlanders from China (there are visitors to Hong Kong)……
    However, Xperia Z is much more popular in Hong Kong, as it is easy to find Xperia Z users in the streets and in the mass transit railway (MTR)^^

  • Mac

    Now that’s what I call phone! Gimme dat!

  • Mac

    Exactly my thought!

  • scw

    I for one want the ZR. but I agree Z and ZR are too similar to be in the same market.

  • Dil2abu

    And for this awesome phone (ZR) phonearena gives rating 6.5/10..

  • xzzz

    never look at phonearena for sony phone. they’re samfanboy

  • XZ rocks

    Xperia ZR or SP + Snapdragon 800 + 2GB RAM + IR remote + camera upgrade +3000 mAH battery = Honami

  • Prateek Bhanushali

    Zr is very capable mid to high end device. My brother has bought it and actually its screen has better saturations than my Z and also a good white balance. Z has a wierd pinkish hue….

  • JG

    Totally agree… ;)

  • Jan

    I think i would only try Apple iPhone instead of Xperia..
    iPhone 5C or whatever is coming. Im just curious about everyday touching iOS 7
    alcatel also trying grow, motorola will also try step up the game.

    Please Sony dont stop to be fancy at all and also serious with equipment.
    Huge impression on me, these lens camera, but should be bit smaller, nevermind. I would tottaly like to have and use this for “sometimes-professional-photos”.
    Why not Xperia Play 2? Was a good smartphone, now u give a shit with PSM worldwide, and order us to wait for station-game instead of pocket-gaming. Even i cant play GTmobile,castlevania sotn,katamari damacy or other good game that would be easy to run on today smartphones. Thats Sony?! i think u dont have a concept of good playing phone. And how much people sony employed to read these comments? if you are one of them, have a nice day ;)

  • X-Ray

    Xperia ZR internal memory is 8gb against 32gb in Xperia A

  • Qad

    No, it’s selling well because Japanese people has gotten poorer so they can’t afford the imported products so they settle to cheaper lower quality products from Japan which has no tarrifs. It’s a simple rule when your economy gets weak and you can’t compete with others you rise the import taxes so people would buy domestic products.

  • alpha

    I guess you’re right; the reason it’s selling well is not being good but being cheap and government of Japan also supports Sony as it is the only Japanese electronics company which is barely present out of Japan.

  • Babylonbwoy


  • Mac

    Hopefully Homani is 4,6″ then yes!

  • Babylonbwoy

    The S4 isn’t doing well even globally, I have read that Sammy had to cut down by 50% production of the handset in july despite denials (shares of the company dropped -6% too), also GS3 will be retired sooner than expected.

  • Teun

    It depends on what tou’re using the camera for. I quite often have footage displayed on my television and computer screens. I’ve even had footage from my Xperia T broadcasted on cable television, so the 1080p is not always overkill.

  • Babylonbwoy

    It’s called protectionism

  • Lolzer

    Buy a Playstation or any console.

    IF they use Xperia Play’s design, the “slider” will be broken easily, secondly, the design/thickness and thirdly, the consumers. Sony ALWAYS wanted to create a “similar-to-a-piece-of-paper” thickness phone, and even they don’t, people will go like “eww, that ugly design”, or “what a huge phone” or smth like that.

    Maybe gamers like you will appreciate the phone, but most won’t. Sony will lose more money than earning it if they create a Xperia Play 2.

  • poke612

    At the end, Price matters…….
    Meanwhile, I always agree Sony phones are priced over the market “expect” or afford

  • Xperianss

    News about Gadget and Technology, like
    this one :

    News about Gadget and Technology,
    follow this one :

  • xperiakita

    Here’s some updated info about Xperia ZR. I quoted from Sony Center’s official Twitter account.

  • ryq24

    Japanese phone makers were slow to come out with good smartphone that led to Samsung and iPhone doing very well in their country. The Xperia A is the first Japanese smartphone that was considered good although still not at par with the Samsung galaxy s3 or S4 but enough for Japanese consumers to embrace since after all its one of their own.

  • Pingback: Sony Xperia A ????????????????????????????????????()

  • Billy de Fretes
  • Billy de Fretes

    true, they even didn’t mention that z ultra is the first snapdragon 800 .. they create new topic about the great snapdragon in g2 .. yes, phonearena is sh*t

  • DeLorean75

    I totally agree! (I have an Xperia ZR).

  • XZ rocks

    My mistake. That would be XZ. Edited comment above

  • Babylonbwoy

    Saw that too, was wondering what the problem with them!

  • James

    I have an Xperia ZR and i must say it is better than Xperia Z and ZL in terms of battery life and its with a removable battery. Awesome.

  • Knight

    I am an Xperia Z owner and I totally agree but the screen itself is quite bloody good on the Z.

  • Chuck Norris

    Rumor has it that there will be a “Honami Mini” with a 4.5″ 720p display, Snapdragon 800, 20.7MP camera and 2400mAh battery. Fucking instant purchase if it comes out

  • Chuck Norris

    He’s talking about displays not cameras dude

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