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Sony Xperia Z and Xperia ZL: can Sony really climb to top of the Android pile?

Sony Xperia Z and Xperia ZL: can Sony really climb to top of the Android pile?

Sony appears to have got a tad overexcited about its CES mobile plans. To say the least.

The Big S has accidentally let slip details of two new top-end Android handsets, the Xperia Z “Yuga” and Xperia ZL “Odin”, both of which appeared on the company’s mobile blog ahead of the big Vegas tech show which starts in earnest next week.

Sony Xperia Z and ZL leaked official photos (small)

Each device will apparently pack a 1080p five-inch screen, 2GB of RAM, a quad- core Snapdragon processor and a stonking 13 megapixel camera.

The ZL is said to be a touch slimmer than the Z. The screen size and the fact it’ll pack Full HD smarts, is particularly interesting, especially in light of the fact that HTC’s much-mooted M7 device is said to come with the same display, as is Samsung’s soon-to-be-revealed Galaxy S4.

Call us cynical, but it seems Sony may have pushed these details into the public domain early in order to gain a jump on its key Android rivals ahead of CES.

It’s telling that rather than wait until February and Mobile World Congress (MWC), it’s decided to unleash these phones now.

Wait and you can be sure that the clamour around the Galaxy S4 will be so great that Sony will struggle to get a look in, no matter how good its hardware is. The question is, can Sony use the Xperia Z and Xperia ZL to push itself nearer the top of the Android pile?

samsung galaxy s4 mock-up

2013 is the perfect year for it to do so, with HTC on the slide and LG reeling after its Nexus 4 failings. But if Sony is to have any chance, it will need to ensure there’s no repeat of past mistakes.

That means it’ll have to ensure that it can roll out Android updates quickly and with less dallying than it has done in the past, serving up Android Jelly Bean on these new phones from the off.

They’ll also have to be on shelves within weeks in order to get off to a flying start. Even if that all happens, what are Sony’s chances in the long term?

Reports at the end of 2012 suggested Sony was already second only to Samsung when it came to Android sales in the UK.

Sony logo black on white (large)

Things are certainly looking good, especially as it can offer more solid, reliable hardware than HTC.

However, it’ll need to reel out more affordable Xperia phones at MWC if it’s to make any impact on Samsung, which looks as if it is in no mood to surrender top spot this year.

Critically, the Xperia Z can expect a warm reception. But that won’t impress Sony execs unless that can be turned into major sales.

The chances are good and just two days into 2013, we already have a smartphone to get properly excited about.

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