Sony plans to step up its mobile camera game significantly with new features aimed squarely at the video side of things, based on newly spotted series of trademark filings covering the name "S-CINETONE."
Presumably, the "S" in the trademark points to the brand "Sony" while the rest of the trademark in question appears to be a combination of the words "cinema" and "tone." That may provide all the clues needed to work out what 'CINETONE' is.
Does the name give it away?
Following a shuffle in leadership, Sony executives have spent a good amount of time explaining why the company's cameras have suffered so many shortcomings. Summarily, that comes down to how various units were kept separate and competitive with one another. It's also a situation that no longer exists.
Tone, in media, typically applies to characteristics of either imagery or sound. In the former example, it applies to color hues and shifts while in the latter it applies to either a single frequency or a complex mix of frequencies.
Sony has already begun making headway with goals related to bringing its various units together for smartphones. Most likely closely related to this new trademark, the Sony Xperia 1 ships with a "Cinema Pro" mode. That allows for filtering and adjustments to ISO, shutter speed, white balance, and the focus point in video capturing.
Videos with Cinema Pro mode on the Xperia 1 from Sony are captured at up to 4K resolution at 30FPS.
None of that necessarily has anything to do with the tone of either images or sound captured during recording. So the new trademark could feasibly apply to either or to both aspects of cinematography. It isn't out of the realm of possibility that Sony plans to offer manual controls for tweaking real-time tonal shift in images.
Alternatively or simultaneously, it S-CINETONE might represent a suite of features. That might include the ability to make adjustments to how the cameras on its future smartphones record audio. In that case, "tone" might refer to adjustments to balancing and either amplifying or ignoring certain frequencies. The feature might improve clarity or add dramatic effects to the recorded audio.
When will this launch?
The current expectation, given the timing of the trademark, is that Sony will launch its S-CINETONE features in its Xperia 2 handset. The new gadget is expected to be unveiled soon although when it becomes available is another question considering the Xperia 1 only just launched in June.
The Sony Xperia 2, based on rumors so far, would seem to be a good fit regardless. The handset is expected to launch with an additional camera sensor. That's on top of the two that were included in the build for its predecessor.
That would also presumably feature a display that's more than capable of handling fine-tuning of color. Rumors suggest Sony might cut the screen to 6.1-inches from 6.4. The implication is that will be a smaller but more capable panel. Driving the experience, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 SoC has been hinted at, backed by a healthy 6GB RAM and 3,000 mAh capacity wireless charging battery.
It's also not out of the question that Sony might be waiting to launch a new camera-centric line, but that seems less likely.