CES 2014 may not officially start until Jan. 7, but many companies actually make their announcements in the days leading up to the big show. One example is Sony, which today took the wraps off of a pair of new smartphones and also reiterated its commitment to the exploding wearable tech market.
The first dish being served up by Sony today is the Xperia Z1S. Launching in the U.S. as a T-Mobile exclusive, the Xperia Z1S features a spec sheet similar to the Xperia Z1 that debuted late last year. That means that we're looking at a 5-inch 1920x1080 display with Sony's TRILUMINOS tech, 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and 3000mAh battery.
Along with those high-end goodies, the Xperia Z1S sports 2GB of RAM, up to 32GB of built-in storage, a microSD card slot and T-Mobile-friendly 4G LTE connectivity. All of those features are wrapped in a shell that's IP55/58 rated, meaning that it can be submerged in up to 4.9 feet of water for up to 30 minutes and is also resistant to dust.
Just as with the Xperia Z1, Sony is placing a lot of focus on the Z1S's rear camera. The 20.7-megapixel shooter features Sony's f/2.0 aperture G Lens and BIONZ image processing system, the latter of which is said to help produce images with less noise and better auto-focus. Sony is also packing a number of camera-centric software features into the Z1S, including Social Live for broadcasting video directly to Facebook and a Timeshift Burst capability that can capture up to 61 images in 2 seconds. The Xperia Z1S includes a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for all your selfie needs.
T-Mobile customers interested in making the Xperia Z1S their next daily driver can pre-register to order the device starting today, Jan. 6. An online pre-sale is slated to begin on Jan. 13, and customers will actually be able to buy a unit from T-Mobile stores and its website starting Jan. 22.
The other new piece of kit introduced by Sony today is the Xperia Z1 Compact. This shrunken smartphone features a 4.3-inch 720p display and many of the same Sony-specific goodies found on flagships like the Xperia Z1 and Z1S. That includes Sony's TRILUMINOS display tech, 20.7-megapixel rear camera with G Lens and BIONZ image processing system and a body thats IP55/58 rated to be resistant to both dust and water. Also included in the Xperia Z1 Compact is a 2300mAh battery and Android 4.3. The Xperia Z1 Compact will be available starting in February 2014 in a variety of colors that include lime, pink, white and black.
Rounding out today's announcements, Sony said that it continues to be committed to the wearables market segment, which has grown quite a bit in the past year or so. The company teased its upcoming SmartWear Experience family that consists of SmartWear products, Xperia-branded phones and a Lifelog app.
The first new product in the SmartWear line is the SmartBand, a device that logs the users daily activities and then displays them using the aforementioned Lifelog app. Sony today also announced that it's bringing new and updated apps to the SmartWatch 2 that it launched last year, bringing the total number of apps available to the SmartWatch 2 past the 300 mark.
Overall it looks like Sony brought a nicely varied lineup to CES 2014. The Xperia Z1 has been available in unlocked form for a while now, but Sony's flagship could see a nice sales boost in the U.S. now that it's finally making its way to a carrier. Meanwhile, the Xperia Z1 Compact is Sony's addition to the mini smartphone market. What makes the Z1 Compact different than some other shrunken offerings, though, is that it includes a higher-end feature set with an HD display and beefy camera hardware, whereas most other mini phones come to market with a spec list that's more in the mid-range.
What do you think of Sony's CES 2014 announcements? Will you be adding either the Xperia Z1S or Xperia Z1 Compact to your gadget wish list?