What's in a name? Well, for Sony's Xperia Z line it was the promise of the best that Sony had to offer in a smartphone. Ever since the Xperia Z originally launched back in 2013 during CES of the same year, the Xperia Z line of devices have been the pinnacle of what Sony has in terms of imaging, audio and design all in an elegant-looking design. Since then, the brand has grown, and devices like the Xperia Z5 Premium not only offer the sort of imaging and audio capabilities we've come to expect from Sony, but also a 4K display similar to those found in their BRAVIA line of TVs. If this latest find online is anything to go by, the Xperia Z6 might be replaced by the recently-announced Xperia X line.
It's been an interesting Mobile World Congress this year, we've already seen Samsung and LG take wraps off of their flagship devices, and Sony got the ball rolling on Monday in a slightly different manner. A very low-key event took place on the show floor of MWC, where the company announced the Xperia X and Xperia XA smartphones. Both of them feature 5.0-inch displays, and are powered by either a Snapdragon 650 or MediaTek MT6575. The Xperia X features a 23-megapixel rear-facing camera, a feature normally reserved for the Xperia Z line, but out of nowhere – with no prior warning – the Xperia X Performance appeared. This was nowhere to be found at the actual event, but it featured all the same specs as the Xperia X, but featured a Snapdragon 820 as its beating heart. Now, it would appear as though the Xperia X Performance could be the rumored Xperia Z6 under a different name.
During an exchange on the official Xperia Facebook page for Germany, one fan wrote "Z6 or I'm gone" and Sony responded with this (translated from German): "there will be no Z6. The new X series is under a modified concept that meets the needs of our users even more. You can of course still rely on the latest technology in our smartphones – which has nothing to do with the name. Best regards, your Sony team." While the wording is a little, shall we say, strained it does appear as if the Xperia X Performance is a sort of stop-gap before the true Xperia Z successor appears. Or perhaps there simply won't be any more releases under the Xperia Z name? This is a little different to what they were saying on Twitter however, as the official Xperia handle responded "Xperia Z5 series is performing well for us, we introduced Xperia X series adding on intelligence to help you to do more." Which really doesn't answer the question the Twitter user asked, which was whether or not the Xperia Z line was being discontinued.
Whatever the case may be, this seems a classic case of Sony not being clear enough in terms of their naming and not giving out enough information. We've seen similar things happen with the Xperia Z4, a smartphone that launched in the West as the Xperia Z3+, to then be succeeded by the Xperia Z5 line just a few months later. Hopefully, we'll be able to get more information closer to the Summer 2016 launch of the Xperia X line.