Sony engineers give insight into Xperia Z1 design process

by XB on 18th November 2013

in Xperia Z1

z1_developersSome of the brains behind the Xperia Z1 recently sat down with the Sony Mobile Blog to reveal some great insight into the design of the handset. A number of Sony engineers and designers gave their insight including Asuka Matsumura, Keita Hibi, Nami Katayama, Nobuyuki Matsushita, Kenichi Kamezaki, Ryoko Amano and Fumiyuki Ito.

The interview reveals some of the thought processes behind the OmniBalance design, the display and how the Xperia Z1 was the first Sony smartphone to be designed with a truly Sony integrated approach. Click through for some of the key highlights and the source link for the full interview.

On the Xperia Z1’s design process

Matsushita: “I was amazed by how fast paced the mobile design process was; with requirements changing constantly. We were able to merge the two design cultures very well, and find a way of working that allowed us to experiment, but collaborate productively within that rapid-pace environment.”

On the Xperia Z1’s OmniBalance design

Hibi: “Aluminium normally limits mobile signal, but with Xperia Z1, we were able to use the one-piece aluminium frame to act as an antenna – so we were balancing the aesthetic requirement for a seamless premium casing, with the functional necessity for a mobile antenna. With plastic parts, it’s more difficult to create single custom shapes, as many moulding processes use dyes. With an aluminium “cutting” process, we can carve the outline precisely – this allowed us to give Xperia Z1 a solid, clean-cut appearance, with four completely round edges.”

Katayama: “For colouring, we used “double alumite treatment” in the aluminium frame. Alumite treatment employs a chemical reaction to protect the surface of aluminium material against oxidization (rust) and allows precise colouring on a micron basis. Without using aluminium, it would have been impossible to create a seamless blend of distinct colours and textures, whilst keeping the colour tone sharp. The frame of the white model, which takes advantage of the aluminium’s “original” colour, underwent two different processes – sand blasting to degloss material with fine particles, and the smoothening so the material retains a gloss finish. This makes the edges of the phone different from the flat surfaces – I think we succeeded in creating a striking two-tone, two-colour finish!”

z1 aluminium frame

On the Xperia Z1’s display

Ito: “X-Reality for mobile” offers a great foundation for imaging but we knew from the start that the real beauty of images cannot be delivered by hardware alone. In the initial stage of development, we held a meeting attended by not just members working on Xperia but also engineers in charge of Sony’s image-related products – PlayStation, BRAVIA, and Cyber-shot. At this meeting, we discussed how the different quality adjustment technologies could be used to individually optimise certain use cases (video / gaming / camera etc…) and as a result we created a set of guidelines on image quality adjustment defining how we could approach this. Xperia Z1 is the first smartphone model developed under those guidelines.”

Ito: “X-Reality for mobile” builds on the advances made by “Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2.” This used four technologies for noise reduction, contrast enhancement, colour management, and sharpness, and the super resolution technology in X-Reality is similar. The technology analyses images frame by frame, guesses and compensates for missing information resulting from image data compression or other processing. Patterns of such image processing are stored in a database, and an optimal pattern is chosen from the database for a specific type of image, such as a movie or animation. This allows an adjusted image to be displayed on the screen instantaneously, which, if done manually, would take several days.”

Via Sony Mobile Blog.

  • brapi

    Fix first the annoying touch screen issue.. Screen only works fine when touching the aluminum frame. If not screen loses touch!

  • DrKrFfXx

    I was crazy about this phone, but after some time, reading the forums and stuff, I realize it’s not much of an upgrade to the Z.

    I don’t really care about the camera, the battery looks fine on paper, but it doesn’t last 30% longer than the Z so benefits of the bigger body is marginal if the battery doesn’t provide palpable diference.

    Screen is meh, probably the sames as the Z. Which is good, but nothing to write home about it. IPS when, Sony? Or at least something like the Ultra, which is proved to be miles ahead of that of the Z and Z1.

    Will wait for the Z2, or even the Ultra 2 if it has bigger battery and flash. I’m fine with the Z as of now, just the consumerist inside me is telling me to make the change, but brains and wallet say is not worthy.

  • cs098

    The z1s if you believe the leaks has a ips.

    So, that’s my next phone :P

  • DrKrFfXx

    Too small. I had an Xperia S before the Z, wellI still have it, It’s here on my hand right now, and although it is a great portable device, I really grew accustomed to the 5″ screen of the Z, anything smaller it’s a step backwards in terms of browsing and media consuming.

  • anonymous

    No place for micro sd card!??

  • cs098

    The nI guess the z2 will be great, I’m pretty sure they will ditch the tft tech the next time around.

  • naru
  • InspectorGadget80

    Still enjoying my Z1 phone after a hole months. LOVE IT lots and got a lot of compliment of the big screen size XD Keep up the good work sony. 2014 or when my Z1 die will buy another in the near future

  • InspectorGadget80

    It’s on the right side for SD CARD MICRO

  • Jiyeon90

    The x-reality engine really makes a difference, I compared same video on the z1 and note 3 and the Z1 was a lot sharper and had nicer vivid colors

  • Mokhtar Mouhib

    Listen dude, im upgrading.from z to z1, dont believe forums, if u want to do that go to phonearena or androidauthority o gsmarena that were are the real reviews, so i have the z1 and.its soooo awsome, the battery life is so amazing i.can use my phone for 2 days with.gaming and mobile.traffic.and ( i use the camera a lot) , insaaane any body who touch my phone.says woooow looks so durable, believe me to z1 really

  • anonymous

    I think it was like the Japanese version..just 32GB Rom & no card slot.

  • Boris J

    when are we getting 4.3 ? HTC is getting the updates :( pls give that fast and 4.4 fast too….. for Z1 :(

  • @atWidget
  • Wat?

    OMG I thought it was the same YouTube link but it’s a different video in every link… woww there is a lot of results in youtube when you type “Z1 touchscreen problem / issue”.

  • Kel

    Blah blah blah! Stop talkin dat, Z1 have so much things to improve. Waiting for the Z2!


    Personally I’d prefer if they ditch this naming scheme. They’re already at Z, the last of the 24 characters. Of cause there are letters that are not in use for xperia products yet but anything before Z kinda seems like a lower end model.

    I’d rather they stick to their production codenames. Nozomi, Honami, Anzu, Zeus, all sound pretty awesome if you ask me. Though chances are that they probably won’t be appealing to the west.

  • Reynaldi Sutrisno

    I guess I’ll wait for Z2. I hope at least sony will use IPS for display, or IZGO display with ++500ppi.

  • Chaturanaga Manchanayake

    Hopefully, they need to upgrade their displays man.. We need something like IPS or s-lcd for it. We all know Z’s display sucks.

  • Andi Ko

    for me sony still the best,…i have both handy now,…( Z and Z1 ).battery is really good improve ( Z1 can do more than 1 day by normal use ,that really impressive ) Display is for me the most important or handy,…can Z1 is really great,….( i already try Amoled, for me the colour are unrealistic ,..that why all neu highend DSLR kamera dont use this technology anymore , IPS ist also really good but THIS IS MY HANDY, SO WHEN I USED IT, I DONT WANT SOMEBODY BESIDE ME ALSO CAN READ IN MY HANDY , that why xperia ist just perfect for me,….what they can do for improvement is for me the camera issue,…Z1 is really good quality camera handy but we need also ” WOW ” effect,…:=)

  • cs098

    by the leaks it looks like they did for the z1s


    they should have named it ZX or RX

    I think Sony used many “R” recently like Alpha 7R, MDR-10R, Cybershot RX

    Hope the Xperia R is coming :D

  • Baria

    just ‘XPERIA 2’

  • sony

    My next phone is SONY xperia Z1..very good phone.battery life is amazing dont trust blog that say battery life is bad.note: z1.have triliminus display it’s awesome…so sharp and more color..and very good contrast even more than Lg g2 ips’s easy for sony to use ips display..

  • sony

    It’s IGZO not izgo :)

  • roeshak

    Don’t think these designers should spend too much time patting themselves on the back. The Z1 is an ugly phone in my view.
    More premium construction, yes but better looking than the Z, no fucking way!!!.
    Too big, boxed in display that looks smaller than the Z’s because of those God! Awful bezels.
    A camera that’s nothing to really speak about. Just a bit better than what was before.
    Fastest processor on the planet, yes but that’s only if you’re into graphics heavy games on a phone. For day to day use, you’ll be lucky to save even a second when performing day to day tasks.
    The display is exactly the same quality as the z just calibrated better. I’m sure Sony will fix the Z’s problems with the 4.3 update after the buzz around the newer phones die down.
    No reason I can think of to upgrade from Z to Z1.
    The successor to the Z will show himself next year. It definitely isn’t the Z1

  • Reynaldi Sutrisno

    oh sorry lol

  • Alphons

    They should use our swedish alphabet – Xperia Ö1


    “believe me no phone come close to z1” really? Oh please! you need to stop being so biased !!!!

    Sony is only good in design and they’ve lost their cool and WOW factor
    for long time. Trust me, when people think about Android, they’ll choose Google’s Nexus devices and Samsung’s Galaxy devices. Not much people care about Sony Xperia now.

  • Brad Williams

    Not this person!!! I wont be ever choosing sameshit and have no desire for a Nexus over a Sony. So when you generalise next,Don’t bother coming in here to do it. :D

  • Mokhtar Mouhib

    Nexus ? Hhhhhh wtf no body in north africa / buy nexus . Even is russia wish were, no body, just sony and android, and i see nokia start grow up too, you hate sony, so even if i talk to tomorrow morning you wont stop your bullshit, so why you dont go and your samsung chip plastic wiith SONY LENS hahha to your mothers ass ? Ass hole !

  • DrKrFfXx

    Yeah, 500ppi, because we relly need that ¬¬

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