Earlier this month, at Mobile World Congress, Sony took some time to unveil three new smartphones. They all fall within the X-series of branding, leaving out what many believe was on tap: A new Z-series flagship smartphone. Ever since Sony released the first Z-branded device a few years ago, they’ve released a new iteration of their flagship in quick succession.
It didn’t take long to see that Sony apparently didn’t have any intention of announcing a successor to the Z5, which it launched near the end of 2015, and obviously that led many folks to scratch their heads in wonderment. Just recently, Sony helped ease some of that initial confusion by confirming that it wasn’t launching a Z6 anytime soon. Or, based on the language proper, no plans to launch a Z6 at all.
Instead, Sony seems to be focusing on the X series, which has plenty going for it, but even its best device in the lineup, the X Performance, is missing all of the features that many would consider to make up a flagship smartphone. Indeed, with “only” a 1080p HD display, lacking a fingerprint reader, and some other key elements, Sony apparently purposefully missed that tall order.
But, for all intents and purposes, the X Performance is a high-end smartphone. A flagship, even. It has a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor under the hood, a 13MP front-facing camera, a 23-megapixel camera on the back, microSD card slot for expandable storage, it’s running Android M, made with a premium metal finish, and it looks ridiculously nice.
Considering the Xperia Z5 only had a 1080p HD display, it stands to reason that Sony made a replacement for that device, but just decided to give it a different name.
Which is why it’s so confusing that Sony has decided to drop the Z-series altogether, and, for whatever reason, move away from that flagship brand, just to launch another flagship with impressive specifications with a name change. Does Sony think that’s actually going to make a difference? Is Sony expecting people to flock to an “Xperia X Performance” versus an “Xperia Z5?”
A lot goes into the name/marketing of a device, but I’m not entirely sure that people were not adopting the Z5, or Z3, or Z-whatever into their lives because of the name. No one’s running to the store to pick up a Galaxy S7 or G5 because of the name (I don’t think?).
So I can’t help but ask: Does it matter that Sony is giving up on the Z-series? Is it going to have any impact on the company’s smartphone sales at all? What do you think? Let me know!