The Sony Xperia Z4v, The Phone that should have been

Last updated: October 5th 2017.

The Sony Xperia Z4v

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There was a time when nothing Sony did could go wrong.  They provided a wide range of top-rated tech including Walkmans, Playstation, their VAIO computers, AIBO, Bravia televisions and more.  Sony was at the top of the tech industry and known for its inventiveness, innovations and it’s creativity.

Now, in 2015, Sony is not the same as it once was.  The VAIO and the OLED division have been sold, some walkman’s now go for over $1,000 and the techncompany has diversified into banking and insurance sales as it attempts to stay out of debt.

Sony has also released the Xperia Z4 (the Z3+ in the global market), to cries of shock and dismay from fans who feel the designs and specs of the Z4 were a duplicate of the Z3, which Sony released last fall.

The biggest issue is the fact that the Xperia Z4 still has just a standard, Full HD display, running contrary to other OEMs who are now opting for QHD panels.  Sony has said that they have not intentions to launch 2K phones.

An unexpected turn of events

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The Xperia Z4v turns many of the issues with the Z4 on their head, featuring significant changes.  These include

  • A QHD display.
  • Wreless charging and
  • A larger battery than the Z4/Z3+.

These changes have many feeling that this Verizon-exclusive phone is actually everything that a standard Z4 should have been.  Many are confused as to why it is not.

Not only that but it is a product especially designed for a country where Sony has a very small market share, rather than the country where it has the majority stake: Japan.

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As you can see from the graph above, as of December of last year, in Japan, Sony had: (1) the largest market share of all Android OEMs, (2) this share peaked in July when new handsets were released, then dropped but (3) began to recover in October.

Japan is currently the only country where mainstream consumers would actively seek to buy and Xperia phone.  Another thing to note is that, in Japan, Sony has lagged behind Fujitsu and Sharp when it comes to smartphones with QHD displays.  These two already have smartphones with OHD while Sharp has merely showcased QHD panels and has not incorporated them in their smartphones yet.

Some background

It cannot be ignored that, in many cases, it’s the carriers that dictate what and when things are released by an OEM.  An example of this would be last year’s Xperia Z3v which also showed how much influence Verizon had on device appearance.

  • As Sony is releasing the Xperia Z4 as the Z3+ internationally, it could be argued the Verizon is the only OEM interested in changes.
  • Verizon could have negotiated for Sony to provide them with a device that would feature cutting-edge specs that would be superior to those carried by its rivals.

Whatever the case may be, Verizon, more than any other carrier seems to be able to influence Sony, even more than Japanese carriers.

The logical question

There are three main reasons why Sony’s design of the Xperia Z4 doesn’t make much sense:

  1. Sony is essentially snubbing their home-grown market. Xperia has the largest share of Japan’s Android market and, with other carriers releasing improved phones, Sony needs to also step up their game if they want to keep their leadership position.
  2. Sony is alienating and angering their fanbase.
  3. Sony is backtracking on statements previously made. It is on record that Sony has said they would not be using QHD technology, yet now they have released a device that used QHD technology to an extremely limited market.

Looking at the future

Sony’s future plans for their smartphone products seem left up-in-the-air with regards to future specs.  Since, despite statements to the contrary, a Sony device with QHD exists, it would seem logical that the next Xperia would also have that technology.  But, as there are now issues in terms of what the company says they will do and what they actually do, things are not so clear.

What is clear is that Sony needs to get their act together with their mobile devices.  They need cohesive leadership to put out a great product globally while retaining their core market in Japan.

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What do you think about the Xperia Z4 and Sony’s future plans?

JR

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