According to Digi-Wo, a website that has released many Sony leaks before, Sony will be releasing a new flagship called Sirius at CES about a week from now, and they are also preparing another one codenamed Canopus for May, next year.
The Sirius model is apparently arriving with a Snapdragon 800 processor (could be a slightly improved one, and not the same one as in the Xperia Z1), and will have a 5.2″ screen (hopefully without the huge bezels we saw on the Z1, although even without them, these phones are still starting to seem a little too big to me). Canopus should arrive with a 5″ display, a Snapdragon 805, which again probably won’t have huge performance improvements CPU-wise, won’t be a 64-bit ARMv8 chip, although it might feature a more powerful Adreno 400 GPU.
I have big hopes for Sony in 2014, in general, although I’m still waiting to see if they’ve learned some lessons from 2013. The first one would be, as I mentioned above, fixing their large screen bezels. They have some of the largest bezels on their phones from any manufacturer, while companies like LG, Motorola and Samsung have some of the tiniest, and I can only image their phones’ bezels will be even tinier in 2014. So Sony has a lot of catching up to do in that department.
The other major flaw in Sony’s smartphones has been the quality of their displays. Hopefully, 2013 was the last year we’ll complain about their displays (at least in flagship phones). They have some potential with the quantum dots displays, but so far they haven’t taken full advantage of it, probably because their execution and improvement of the technology has been so slow.
It’s important to note that Sony has also gotten a lot of things right this year, and I hope there will be more progress in these areas next year, rather than regress. They’ve finally caught up in processing performance and overall specs. They had one of the best mobile cameras around, certainly in the Android market, at least for photos. They also continued to improve on a pretty great design language for their hardware. Their hardware is usually thin and elegant, and I think a lot of people like that. They aren’t that bad with software upgrades either (although they and everyone else could certainly improve in this category, since the average upgrade period for smartphones is quite low).
If Sony fixes the two main issues with their phones, and improves on the rest, then Sony should do quite well in 2014, especially if they launch some strong marketing campaigns to position themselves as “anti-Samsung”, and try to get most of the customers that want Android devices, but are tired of Samsung for various reasons. That could work very well for them if combined with some high quality and well priced devices, too.
If they also work with Google to make the next Nexus device, that could really open the gates wide for them to get into the US market, because they’d get a lot of local media attention, and the carriers and retailers would see there’s enough interest for the device, so they can sell it.