Japan's Sony, which lags its South Korean and Chinese rivals in smartphone sales, on Monday unveiled a new handset featuring advanced camera technology to boost its appeal for video and film professionals.
Speaking via web streaming from Tokyo, President of Sony Mobile Communications Mitsuya Kishida said the newest incarnation of the flagship Xperia 1, the triple-lens Mark II, will include features from the company's Alpha camera range, such as eye-tracking autofocus, as well as 5G connectivity.
The Japanese company had planned to present its new phones at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but the event was cancelled because of concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.
Equipped with three separate lenses, the new phone will include a dedicated app to allow finer manual control over video and photo settings. Along with the mid-range Xperia 10 Mark II, the phones should start to be shipped over the coming weeks, Kishida said.
He also announced plans for a handset aimed at video and photography professionals. The Xperia Pro, which is still in development, will be able to livestream images over 5G connections from professional cameras via a micro HDMI input and will function as an external monitor for cameras.
Sony, which usually pitches its phones to visually-minded users who appreciate the company's high-end screens and cameras, is a small player in the smartphone market, beneath the top 10 biggest sellers.
It did not reveal the prices of the new phones.
Analysts were sceptical the latest addition would boost sales as rivals such as China's Huawei or Korea's Samsung have already made a strong bet on high-performance cameras in their smartphones.
Sadly, it is hard to see how these devices will change @Sony Mobile's fortunes. Dependence on home Japanese market is growing and Xperia Pro is clearly aimed at 5G services likely associated with Japanese Olympic Games. Biggest news "the [3.5mm] jack is back".
Here's a quick look at the smartphones' specifications:
Sony Xperia 1 II
The Sony flagship features a 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED panel with a 21:9 cinematic ratio. The smartphone's display features a Motion Blur Reduction, which Sony claims can match the benefits of a 90Hz display by analyzing what's on the screen and adjusting individual frames to reduces frame lag.
The Sony Xperia 1 II runs Android 10 and is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 with the 5G modem. It has 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of UFS storage.
For photography, the smartphone features a 12 MP main + 12 MP ultrawide + 12 MP telephoto ZEISS lens. Up front, there is an 8 MP camera for selfies.
The Xperia 1 II also comes with the Eye Autofocus from Xperia 1, but this time it also works on animals. Sony says this is the first smartphone that can do 20 fps bursts with AF tracking, which means that all shots in the burst will be in focus.
The smartphone IP65/IP68 rating for water and dust protection, and it retains the 3.5 mm headphone jack.
Xperia 10 II
The Sony Xperia 10 II features a 6-inch 21:9 4K OLED display, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6. The smartphone comes with IP65/IP68 water and dust resistance. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor paired with an Adreno 610 GPU. It runs Google's Android 10 operating system, and it is fuelled by a 3,600 mAh battery.
Sony Xperia 10 II, for photography, sports a triple camera setup on the back consisting of a 12 MP ultra-wide angle sensor paired with an 8 MP wide-angle sensor and another 8 MP telephoto lens.
Sony also announced the new Xperia Pro smartphone, which it says is still under development. However, what we know about it is that it shares the display and camera setup with the Xperia 1 II. It will come with an HDMI port and will integrate with Sony Alpha cameras that can use it as a viewfinder and then leverage its 5G connection for broadcasting. The smartphone will also have a customizable shortcut key on its side that will let you launch any app in an instant.
The Xperia Pro will come with storage up to 512 GB and feature a sturdier body - its body will apparently be similar to Alpha cameras.
The Xperia Pro is said to have a 4-way 5G mmWave antenna arrangement, which basically means that it could broadcast with speeds that can reach 5 Gbps or faster, provided the phone has a good 5G connectivity.