Sony has never had much of a smartphone presence in the U.S. Despite having arguably the best deployment of a “mini” smartphone these days with their Xperia Z Compact series of phones – not to mention its bigger Xperia Z series being highly regarded on its own – Sony’s availability on any of the “Big Four” carriers in the U.S. has hardly been consistent over the past several years. Because of this, U.S. consumers tend to sway towards more readily available devices from the likes of Samsung, Apple, LG, HTC, and Motorola.
It isn’t just Sony’s lack of availability on carriers that deter customers, either; general accessibility to the Xperia Z series in the U.S. is limited, and where it isn’t limited it can be confusing trying to figure out what models work with which carriers. Overall, if you’re not intimately familiar with Sony’s smartphones you’re probably not going to bother yourself over figuring out which one may or may not work with your specific carrier.
However, just because Sony’s phones aren’t readily available here doesn’t mean that they don’t have good phones. Sony’s Xperia Z line does a great job holding its own against other flagships on the market, excelling in areas like waterproofing, dustproofing, battery life, and camera (which seems to be hit or miss). For these reasons, among others, many tech enthusiasts praise the Xperia Z and wish that it was available here in the States.
Fortunately, we won’t have to want for much longer. According to a Facebook post by Sony Mobile, the Xperia Z5 and Z5C will be available in the U.S. starting on February 7 through Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H. While that still isn’t as great as having it readily available and displayed through the carriers themselves, that’s one less hoop Sony smartphone hopefuls will have to jump through.
I don’t think this will do much for Sony in the U.S. right now, but I do think it’s… a start. I can't say it’s a great start, but it is a start. In my quest to find a new daily driver in 2016, the Z5 and Z5c weren’t exactly on my radar, despite the fact that I did like my Z3c for the short period of time that I had it. I just didn’t feel like jumping through the hoops again. Now that Sony is officially supporting these phones in the U.S., I’ll be putting the Z5c back on my radar again.
The interesting thing about this news is that the Z6 is rumored to make a debut during MWC next month, which runs from February 22-25 in Barcelona. While the Z5 and Z5c were just released in October, this would be a typical move from Sony of it were to happen; Sony tends to release a new Xperia every 6 to 7 months, instead of the normal cycle of every 12 months.
Even without a release of the Z6 at MWC, however, it will be interesting to see how well the Z5 and Z5c will do in the U.S. As I said, I really don’t think this will gain much traction. Not only is there a lack of “official” support from carriers, but I doubt there will be any marketing for it aside from the one Facebook post. With that in mind, it could still pave way for bigger and better things for Sony devices in the U.S. At least, that’s my hope.