When it comes to smartphones, Sony is in a world of their own, seemingly unable to properly market their flagship, the Sony Xperia Z series. The last model to make it to the US was the Xperia Z3, which came out less than six months after the Xperia Z2 and was a minor upgrade at best. In April, Sony quietly released the new Xperia Z4 in Japan, but made no mention of any global marketing. Sony finally released a formal statement that they would globally release their new Xperia in June under the name of Xperia Z3+ – the identical device released in Japan as the Xperia Z4.
There was some confusion on their reasoning behind the name change, but a Sony spokesperson explains it has to do with different regions. Sony released this explanation: “The main reason for the name difference here is down to Sony being such a dominant force in the Japanese market [where] consumers crave flagship devices with the latest features as soon as they can be delivered. Xperia Z3 continues to perform well as our flagship device across the rest of the world. To address those customers that would like to have the very latest features and refinements, we have introduced Xperia Z3+ as a premium addition to our existing flagship Z3 series.”
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It is odd that there is more of an upgrade from the Xperia Z3 to the Xperia Z3+ than there was from the Xperia 2 to the Xperia Z3, yet they chose not to use the Xperia Z4 nametag. There were very minor upgrades in the camera and button placement from the Xperia Z2 to Xperia Z3. However, in the transition from the Xperia Z3 to Xperia Z3+ there was a huge change in the processor – from the 32-bit Snapdragon 801 quad-core to the 64-bit Snapdragon 810 octa-core, along with some more tweaking of the camera and more cleanup around the edges. It continues with the same 5.2-inch IPS LCD 1080p display, which is baffling considering the new Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge and the new LG G4, as well as last year’s LG G3, are sporting 1440p displays.
Sony continues to stress its dominance in its cameras (although still does not offer true OIS), its two-day battery life and its resistance to water – all noble gestures, but still does not answer the question of naming their smartphones. It will be interesting to see what their next flagship will look like, what features it will possess and what they will name it…will it be the Xperia Z5 or will they completely change the name? Only Sony, and time, will tell.