Today, Sony announced the Xperia Z4 flagship, the company's next flagship device. The phone has only been announced for Japan so far, where it will arrive in two months.
The Sony Xperia Z4 looks more like an incremental upgrade than a radical one compared to the Xperia Z3. The design seems to have remained mostly the same, while the base storage has doubled to 32 GB, and the device now has a 5.1MP camera in the front. The Xperia Z4 is slimmer than the Z3 (6.9 mm vs 7.3 mm), and the battery has also shrunk from 3100 mAh to 2930 mAh. It remains to be seen whether this will have an impact on battery life.
It looks like Sony has decided to stick to a 1080p resolution for its 5.2" display, but that can only translate to battery efficiency if Sony will use a newer, more efficient 1080p panel than the one in the Z3.
Although it seems Sony will use another 20.7MP sensor in its phone, that doesn't necessarily mean it will be the same one as in the Xperia Z3. Last fall, the company announced a quite impressive new sensor with a 192-point auto-focus system, which at the time was rumored to arrive in the Xperia Z4.
The Galaxy S6 made a significant jump over last year flagships'cameras, and the Xperia Z3, which didn't have one of the best cameras even at that time, will have some catching up to do -- especially in the software department. Android 5.0 introduced a powerful new camera API, so we'll see how well Sony will be able to take advantage of it.
While the Xperia Z3 had an IP68 certification that said it could stay 1 meter underwater for 30 minutes, the Xperia Z4 got an IPX8 upgrade to 1.5 meters. The device is also IP6X-certified, ostensibly making it dust proof.
The device also uses the controversial Snapdragon 810 chip, which Samsung didn't want to use in the Galaxy S6. Unlike Samsung's Exynos 7420, which is built on a 14nm FinFET process, the Snapdragon 810 continues to be built on TSMC's 20nm planar process technology. This gives Samsung's chip an advantage in thermal performance, which could be used to increase CPU performance, lower power consumption, or a combination of both.
The Xperia Z4 will get 3 GB of RAM, just like the Z3, and it will come in white, black, copper and aqua green.
Unless Sony plans to introduce a new flagship brand this year, the Xperia Z4 should be the true successor to the Xperia Z3, globally. Sony's phones have generally been well designed, although the design theme, which Sony has used since at least the Xperia Z1, is aging. Perhaps what Sony needs is its own "Project Zero" to revolutionize itself, and hopefully its sales, as well.