Sony Corporation threw down the gauntlet to global rivals Samsung and Apple yesterday as the Japanese electronics giant unveiled a range of new smartphones and a tablet computer.
The three new phones, the Xperia T, V and J, were launched at the IFA Berlin electronics conference in Germany as well as the all-new Xperia S tablet.
The Xperia T will be used by James Bond in the new Skyfall movie, the latest in the British spy series.
"Today, we are introducing three new products. These smartphones will have a licence to thrill," said Kazuo Hirai, the chief executive.
"We've seen more changes in the past 10 years than in the previous half century combined," he added.
Having fallen off the list of the top 10 selling mobile devices in the world, the new models marked an important rebirth for Sony Mobile as it aims to compete against its more successful global peers.
"Today, we are here at IFA to talk about products that will revitalise Sony," said Mr Hirai.
"The products I unveil today will help define Sony's future."
Sony said the Xperia T and V would be available in the Middle East region, including the UAE, in January next year. It is still not known when the Xperia S tablet will be available.
The price of the new devices has not yet been released but analysts and retailers said they would probably be priced between US$200 (Dh734) and $500, and could be available on the "grey market" within weeks in the UAE.
"I don't think the other industry participants see Sony as a credible threat - but if I were a betting man, I wouldn't bet against them bouncing back strongly," said Omar Kassim, the chief executive of JadoPado, an online electronics store in the UAE.
"Sony has a long tradition of being able to bounce back after a few years in decline. I think these new devices will help to exactly do that.
"The specifications, at a glance, match or exceed what is currently available from both Apple and Samsung," he added.
The flagship Xperia T model has a 11.6cm display powered by Sony's Bravia engine and a 13 mega-pixel camera with full high-definition recording abilities.
Crucially for Sony, its new phones are also near-field-communication (NFC) enabled, so they can be used to pay for goods at tills and allow easy connectivity to Sony's digital library of movies and TV shows, along with games from its PlayStation brand, and will be able to connect to some of the company's digital cameras and TV sets.
The Xperia tablet has a 23.8cm high-definition display and features an additional cover that doubles up as a small keyboard, a function that is expected to become common in the next wave of tablet upgrades.
Next month is a big month for the electronics industry and will act as an acid test for the Sony products.
Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone, while a Nokia and Windows 8 announcement is expected on Wednesday, as well as a Motorola announcement of a new product. The new Samsung Galaxy Note II is also set to be unveiled today at IFA Berlin.
"As it stands right now, the Sony announcement is interesting as a step forward but will it still be seen as a step forward two weeks from now when we've seen all the other product announcements?" said Ashish Panjabi, the chief operating officer at Jacky's Electronics.
"A lot of it depends on what the competition rolls out in the next few weeks."
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