Earlier this week, we covered how the Wikileaks website created a searchable archive of a large number of leaked internal Sony emails and documents associated with the data hack the Japanese company suffered back in December, following the debacle surrounding “The Interview.” As it turns out, one of the leaked documents from the Sony archive contains concept images and designs of future Xperia Android handsets. As such, the document leak via Wikileaks has given the world something of a rare insight into Sony’s designers mindset and where they may be positioning the Xperia line in the short, medium and perhaps long term. The images in the gallery below are concept images, but there’s a good chance that one or more of these ideas is already being implemented into future Xperia handset designs. There are also clues in the leaked documents, one slide says, “new design & form” for example.
We’ve also seen some conflicting stories concerning the next Xperia handset, with “Vizileaks suggesting that Sony are releasing an updated version of the Xperia Z3 to be joined with a new design, the Xperia Z4. The Z4 may be constructed around an all-metal design, use a fingerprint sensor integrated into the display and a different, revised power and lock button. We know that Sony patented a “sensor-equipped display” technology back in 2012 but this has yet to surface amongst its handsets.
Of the designs, the Sony Xperia Concept Y appears to be the most advanced. This design includes the new power button and has smaller bezels compared with the Xperia Z3. It has edges that appear to be accentuated with metal but it’s also possible that the entire smartphone is metal, only we don’t have pictures showing the rear of the design. There’s a bottom-mounted MicroUSB port for a data and recharging, as we’ve seen in other leaked Xperia handset designs.
The other leaked designs include the Xperia Tube concept, which has a flatter top, bottom with rounded edges on the side of the handset. The Tube handset has the redesigned lock button, a headphone socket at the top and the MicroUSB port at the bottom. There’s a Mono design, too, which looks like an early concept where Sony’s inspiration is to create a single solid block of smartphone. It’s not clear what materials the Mono design would be constructed of but it could be used as a means of differentiating the Xperia line of smartphones from other designs built from a single block of material (such as Apple, HTC, Samsung). The images also demonstrate a change in the user interface and how the clock is displayed. The fourth design is called “Plate,” which is one of the more unusual as it appears to combine a plastic and metal frame with a fabric-like material. This may be similar to Samsung’s faux-leather material in devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. The Plate designs also include a different clock interface; the large hour number fills up as the minutes pass.
The final smartphone design is called “Glass,” and it’s no surprise that this concept idea uses 2.5D-strength glass on the handset (both the front, back and the sides, although there’s a resin bezel). The Glass concept is perhaps not the most durable of designs but shows that Sony’s designers are not afraid to at least consider different materials. And finally, the last few pictures show off what may be a new SmartBand design, perhaps the SWR12, which includes a heart rate sensor.