Sony plans to reveal its latest Xperia phone on April 14, the company has confirmed, though as for what the big launch may be there are a few different rumors circulating. The company most recently debuted a fairly niche smartphone even by its own standards, with the Xperia Pro aiming to give a twist on 5G use-cases for those who focus on upload speeds more than downloads.
The Android phone not only could act as a mobile hotspot for uploading raw photos and video – including live-streaming – from a compatible camera, but it had an HDMI input for using it as a 4K OLED monitor. Clever stuff, but at $2,500 unlocked the Xperia Pro was definitely not targeted at the mainstream.
That’s something we’re expecting the company to address on April 14. There’ve been two big rumors around Sony’s roadmap of late, one fingering a flagship in the near pipeline, and the other a more affordable, and markedly smaller device. Either of those – or indeed both – could be the focus for mid-April.
On the flagship side, the chatter has fixed on the Sony Xperia 1 III. As the name suggests, it’ll be the third generation of the Xperia 1 series, throwing in familiar hardware like a Snapdragon 888 chipset, 5G, and a 6.5-inch 4K 120Hz display much like the Xperia Pro. However while that phone targeted people using external cameras, the Xperia 1 III will push self-contained content creation, including a more capable version of the Xperia 1 II’s periscope zoom lens.
In parallel, though, we’ve also been hearing about a rebooted version of the Sony Xperia Compact. That would aim at the opposite end of the scale, at least in terms of size, with a smaller display but less of a compromise on specifications.
While it would be easy to say that was prompted by the iPhone 12 mini, it’s in fact a strategy that Sony has explored before. The original Xperia Compact launched in the US back in 2018, though was discontinued a year later. Since then we’ve seen interest in smaller form-factor devices resurface, as a reaction to the increasingly large handsets manufacturers are pushing.
Saying that, this new Xperia Compact could still be noticeably larger than its predecessor. That had a 5-inch display, but rumors peg this updated version as measuring in at 5.5-inches. What remains to be seen is how much of its other high-end tech Sony can squeeze into a smaller design: one of the lingering criticisms of “compact” or “mini” smartphones has been that, while delivering a device that’s easier to hold, use, and put in a pocket or bag, they also sacrifice too much in the way of power and capabilities.
We’ll find out for sure if either of these are on the agenda for Sony – or if it’s something else entirely – come April 14. The event kicks off at 3:30am ET / 12:30am PT.