Sony is still planning to release a flagship with a 4K display in 2018, Chinese outlet ITHome reported Saturday, citing unnamed company officials. The upcoming device is said to be based on the new "Ambient Flow" design language Sony introduced at Mobile World Congress earlier this week with the debut of the Xperia XZ2 and Xperia XZ2 Compact. Besides significantly reduced bezels, the handset is hence set to feature an 18:9 aspect ratio and will likely have a 4K+ resolution of 4,320 by 2,180 pixels. The Japanese original equipment manufacturer hasn't commercialized a 4K smartphone since the Xperia XZ Premium which debuted at MWC 2017 and launched last June, still using the firm's OmniBalance design.
Sony introduced the world's first 4K handset in 2015, having unveiled it in the form of the Xperia XZ5. Since then, the tech giant improved on its mobile display with the introduction of HDR+ support but has yet to fully embrace virtual reality, arguably the biggest reason to implement a 4K panel into a smartphone. Most industry experts agree that the difference between QHD and 4K resolutions on small panels used for mobile devices is invisible to the naked eye during regular use, which is also why DisplayMate claims the QHD screens of the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are tied with the industry's best 4K displays in terms of image sharpness. The largest advantage of having such technology integrated into a smartphone is providing better VR experiences in cases when users have their handsets strapped to their faces and while Sony is presently one of the market leaders in terms of consumer VR solutions, it has yet to attempt replicating the success of the PlayStation VR formula in the mobile segment.
The upcoming Android flagship that's said to be coming later this year is expected to feature a 5.5-inch IPS LCD panel with a 4K resolution and HDR support, in addition to being powered by the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm's most premium chip to date and the same silicon that's found inside the Xperia XZ2 and Xperia XZ2 Compact. The company has yet to decide when to launch the new device but a debut in the second half of 2018 is understood to be likely, according to latest reports.