Opinion | Sony's rumoured quartet of 2020 flagships explains why its smartphone business is going under
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According to multiple sources, Sony is planning to bring several flagship smartphones to market next year. The news comes in the wake of the market share of its smartphone sub-division shrinking even further, as we reported on earlier this week. Perhaps releasing four flagships per year is an attempt to rectify its ailing smartphone business, but the rumoured names and release dates of the four handsets is clunky at best.
While the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 will apparently power all four devices, AndroidNext reports that the Xperia 0 will be at the top of Sony's product stack. The Xperia 0 is supposedly the final name of the hexa-cam Xperia that leaked earlier this year. The Japanese website claims that Sony will keep the Xperia 0 under wraps until IFA 2020, which will run between September 4 and September 9 in Berlin.
Next up is the Xperia 1.1, an Xperia 1 successor that will feature four rear-facing cameras. There is an Xperia 5 refresh coming too, appropriately called the Xperia 5.1. The latter will also have four rear-facing cameras, but it will only be capable of shooting up to 2K videos. By contrast, the Xperia 1.1 will support up to 4K videos. Sony will apparently launch both at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, which runs between February 24 and February 27.
Last but not least is the Xperia 3, a successor to the Xperia XZ2 Compact. According to Android Next, the Xperia 3 will have three rear-facing cameras and will be limited to shooting up to 2K videos like the Xperia 5.1. Leaked photos supposedly of the Xperia 3 show a handset that is relatively compact, but one that sticks to the design language of existing Xperia handsets. In short, the Xperia 3 will have pronounced top and bottom bezels as the photo below demonstrates. Its release date currently remains unknown, though.
All four devices will apparently come in 5G flavours too. However, Qualcomm has not confirmed whether it will offer the Snapdragon 865 in 4G and 5G versions, or if it plans to jump straight to a 5G only SoC. Hence, we do not know if the four devices will come in distinct 4G and 5G versions.
In summary, Sony will unveil two flagships at MWC 2020, another seven months later at IFA 2020 and a fourth at some point next year. The Japanese company will distinguish them by size and cameras, but it will use different naming schemes for those that it will release in February compared to the ones that appear later in the year. In our opinion, this approach smacks of Sony desperately trying to resuscitate a business that is going the way that Microsoft Lumia did. A scattergun approach is rarely the best way to focus a failing business, though.