x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Sony switches to a new tack to fight back

The Life: 'Tis the season for make-or-break smartphones. But can Sony take a bite out of Samsung and Apple's dominance?

Sony announced the new Xperia line-up in Berlin last week. Courtesy Sony
Sony announced the new Xperia line-up in Berlin last week. Courtesy Sony

Japanese giant hopes smartphone range will ring the changes

Rory Jones

A It is the season for make-or-break smartphone launches.

Nokia unveiled its new range last night. Samsung announced a new Galaxy Note II last week and the flagship SIII was launched a few months back.

Moreover, the new Apple iPhone 5 is expected to be ceremoniously unveiled on September 12.

But the real make-or-break announcement was Sony's new Xperia line-up in Berlin last week, as the brand recently tumbled out of the top 10 selling phones in the world. Samsung heads the list, followed by Nokia and Apple.

Sony unveiled four new phones, the T, which will be the TX in some markets, plus the V and the J.

The T will be the "flagship" phone, with the other models slight variations based on size and specifications. The T has a 11.6cm screen, a 13 mega-pixel high definition (HD) camera and full 1080p HD video recording. It runs on the Ice Cream Sandwich Google Android platform. At first glance, the Xperia line-up does not wow. It is sleek and has a nice arc curve in the back of the phone that supposedly helps sit in the palm of the hand. It certainly does not look iconic or game changing. But delve a little deeper and there is a lot to text home about. The interface is sharp, cool and easy to use. There are nice little features such as different back-lighting that reflects the album cover of the artist to whom you are listening.

The photo gallery can be viewed in a number of different ways, which David de Leon, the interaction design director at Sony Mobile, says helps "blur the line in looking for a picture and looking at a picture."

For the clumsy among us, the V model is waterproof, even at the bottom of a 1 metre deep pool.

And, most importantly, the whole Sony line-up is near-field-communication (NFC) enabled so you can pay for goods at tills with your smartphone. You can move seamlessly, playing music or films, from device to device just by tapping the smartphone.

The Sony line up should help it crack the top 10 sellers again.