Sony guns for 'emotional experience' with latest phone, TVs

Summary:Japanese electronics giant hopes to elicit an emotional connection with consumers again, with the unveiling of its flagship Xperia Z smartphone and 4K Ultra HD Bravia TV today.

LAS VEGAS--Sony Electronics is hoping to rekindle the "emotional experience" consumers once had with the company when it introduced its Walkman music device and PlayStation console years ago, with its latest slew of gadgets. These include its flagship Xperia Z smartphone and Bravia X900 4K Ultra High-Definition (UHD) TV.

Speaking at a press briefing at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 here Monday, Sony President and CEO Kazuo Hirai reiterated the company's three core businesses lie in digital imaging, games, and mobile , with its television business benefiting from the innovations brought forth by the imaging team.

This is consistent with the company's four-screen strategy which was highlighted at last year's CES trade conference to bring about tighter integration with Sony's portfolio of hardware devices.

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Sony hopes its Experia Z smartphone can fend off other Android-based devices jostling for a spot in an increasingly competitive mobile market. Credit: Kevin Kwang

Phil Molyneux, president and COO at Sony Electronics, who also presented during the briefing Monday, pointed out its latest Xperia Z smartphone is a result of the additional focus the company is putting into the mobile business . The device is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor, and comes with a 5-inch full HD 1080x1920 screen, 4G LTE capability, as well as a 13 megapixel camera with Exmor RS for mobile, he said.

The smartphone, together with the smaller Xperia ZL which has almost similar specifications, will roll out globally starting first quarter of 2013, the company stated. No pricing details were released.

Building out 4K ecosystem
The other "screen" to share the limelight was Sony's 84-inch Bravia X900A 4K UHD TV. Molyneux touted the company's Triluminous display technology as giving users "truer, richer colors" and a differentiator from its competitors' UHD TVs.

He acknowledged that not everyone would need a 84-inch TV in their homes though, so the company will be offering two more screen sizes at a "more accessible price range". These are the 65-inch XBR-65X900A and 55-inch XBR-55X900A models, the executive said.

The TVs will be "available in spring", Sony stated.

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The 55-inch 4K UHD TV also comes with "magnetic fluid speakers"--touted to enhance viewing pleasure. Credit: Sony

Unlike its competitors, Sony is also looking to expand the use of 4K display technology in content creation. One of its initiatives include re-mastering 10 movies in 4K technology, such as The Amazing Spider-Man, Karate Kid, and Total Recall, and preloading them into its latest 4K Bravia TVs, Molyneux said.

It will launch its 4K Video Distribution Service "this summer" too, which would see its Sony Entertainment arm work with other content providers to build out the content and channel systems for consumers, he added.

The company is also manufacturing 4K-enabled video cameras such as the F5 Pro camera for the film-making industry to spur the creation of content. Hirai identified upcoming films such as M Night Shyamalan's After Earth and Elysium as ones that were shot with such cameras.

"We are looking to create an emotional experience only Sony can deliver," said the CEO, adding every customer should "be moved" when using Sony's products.

Kevin Kwang of ZDNet Asia reported from the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in Las Vegas, United States.

Topics: Tech Industry, CES, Consumerization, Smartphones

About

A Singapore-based freelance IT writer, Kevin made the move from custom publishing focusing on travel and lifestyle to the ever-changing, jargon-filled world of IT and biz tech reporting, and considered this somewhat a leap of faith. Since then, he has covered a myriad of beats including security, mobile communications, and cloud computing... Full Bio

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