As soon as Sony announced the Xperia X family earlier in the week, there have been various reports suggesting that Sony will retire the flagship Xperia Z brand when it comes to future flagships. What is interesting is that there is no one source for this speculation. We have seen a number of separate Sony sources seemingly confirm that the Xperia Z series will culminate with the Xperia Z5.
The old adage goes that there is ‘no smoke without fire’ and in this particular example, there appears to be mounting evidence that we will not see a Sony Xperia Z6 appear. Let us present the evidence by taking a look at each of these reports.
1) First of all, AndroidPit reported that Sony SEM (South Eastern Mediterranean) Country Manager Augusto Zumbo said that the company “decided to carry out a “silent” rebranding, changing its Z line to the X line” and making the Xperia X the new flagship range. This statement was then retracted claiming that Zumbo had “mistakenly” revealed product roadmap details.
2) We then saw Sony Mobile Germany make comments on its Facebook page explicitly stating that there will not be an Xperia Z6 and that the Xperia X series is a new concept that should meet the needs of its users even more. Sony Mobile Poland has made similar comments on its Facebook page.
3) Jun Makino, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Sony Mobile, apparently told uSwitch: “I can’t comment on the future, but we will not be releasing a Z6.” When pressed further, he said that “there will not be a Z6” and that instead the company is “turning to the next stage, with the Xperia X series”.
4) Lastly, there are reports in the Asian media that Ito Hiroshi, Director of Global Product Planning for Sony Mobile, has confirmed that the “Xperia Z5 is the last of the Z series, there will be no Z6“. Considering his senior position within Sony management, it’s hard to see how this cannot be true.
The news would surprise us, especially given the amount of goodwill built up over the last few years. Most people automatically know that the Xperia Z models are Sony’s flagship smartphones. If Sony retired the brand, it would have to start again and make it very clear how each of its product lines is differentiated.
If this turns out to be true, one possible reason for the change could be that Sony plans a radical redesign when it comes to the H2 Sony Xperia flagship, most likely announced in early September at the IFA tradeshow. As all of the Xperia Z series broadly follow the same OmniBalance design language, with each iteration being refined, Sony may want to step away from the Xperia Z series branding that has defined its flagship smartphone range over the last three years.
We also don’t buy into the talk that the Xperia X range is the new 2016 flagship from Sony. Remember, the highest-specced Xperia X Performance isn’t even being launched in some key European geographies such as the UK and Germany – this to us suggests that something bigger will be coming shortly after. Again, the September launch for a proper 2016 Sony Xperia flagship seems very likely to us. Whether this flagship is branded as the Xperia X or Xperia Z series remains to be seen
We have asked for an official comment from Sony on the matter, we will update the post if we hear back.
Would you be sad to see the Xperia Z brand disappear? Does the purported move make sense? What would you call a new Sony Xperia flagship? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.
Update: The news is true. :(
Thanks to all that sent this in!