Earlier in the year, we brought you word that Sony Mobile was not planning to introduce its flagship smartphone at MWC 2015. The event has come and gone and now the question on everyone’s lips is when we may see the possible launch of the Xperia Z4.
There has also been speculation that the MWC no-show could hint towards a yearly flagship product cycle. However, this has been dismissed by a couple of Sony Mobile executives at MWC this week. First of all, Tim Harrison Sony Mobile’s VP of Global Communications ruled out the move to a traditional move to a 12-month cycle, referring to a phasing of products more than anything else.
Pierre Perron, VP of Sony Mobile Western Europe went on to say that they won’t launch a new device just for the sake of it. Instead, there is increasing focus on the consumer experience. “We will continue to launch beautiful hardware but it’s not the only thing anymore,” said Perron.
Reading both quotes suggests to us that there will be no move to a fixed yearly Xperia flagship release, but neither will the company release them every six months like it has up until now – especially if it cannot offer anything new. Considering that the Xperia Z3 launched in IFA last September, expect the Xperia Z4 to be announced well before then.
Both executives referred to how well the current crop of Xperia smartphones are doing, in particular, the Xperia Z3 series. They talked about a sustained level of interest and the need to keep the devices fresh with updated features. See the full quotes below.
Tim Harrison – Sony Mobile’s Vice President, Global Communications & PR
“Z4 is the next-generation of product that we’ll be announcing. No, we haven’t [moved to a more traditional 12 month product cycle]. As a general rule you will see some adjustment to the way we phase our products, but we’re certainly not going to offer any specific details as to when we are going to bring our next products, beyond these, at this stage.”
“We haven’t always announced a smartphone at MWC, sometimes we phase it and we’ll have a smartphone or a tablet. This year we really wanted the emphasis on our story at MWC to be around expanding the mid-range offer and broadening the mid-range and obviously bringing in a super premium tablet as well. It’s more a case of phasing the products in than anything else.”
“At IFA we announced three Z3 series products, the full sized smartphone, the Compact and the Compact Tablet. These are doing really well in the market and there is still quite a considerable amount of interest in those particular products and since we’ve announced them, we’ve updated a number of features. We’ve introduced Remote Play, there are more camera themes and there are more camera apps.”
Pierre Perron – Vice President Sony Mobile Western Europe
“I don’t think this is whether we should or shouldn’t be announcing products. It’s leading to the fact that the company is focusing more on the consumer experience as opposed to just launching [a device] for the sake of launching, so you’ll see this major change in our strategy.”
“The innovation is not so much about launching and announcing a flagship with more and more megapixels and so on, it’s about how can you make consumers’ lives more innovative and more relevant as we go forward. This is what it’s all about. We are focusing on bringing what is unique to the brand, bringing this content element into our proposition, such as Sony (Xperia) Lounge. This is what you need to understand. We will continue to launch beautiful hardware but it’s not the only thing anymore.”
“The story is beyond that. It’s whether you are expanding consumer experience beyond a technology standpoint, making sure these experiences are available to as many consumers as soon as possible, even those who bought products six months ago.”