Here in the U.S., Android flagships are anything but rare. Whether it’s HTC’s One, Samsung’s Galaxy S or Note, LG’s G, Motorola/Lenovo’s Moto X, or Google’s Nexus, it’s safe to say that there are no shortage of choices here. However, there is one flagship missing from the list that I believe deserves more recognition than has been granted thus far, and that’s Sony’s Xperia Z series.
The Xperia Z is no stranger to rave reviews – each generation achieves at least 4 stars and above consistently across the Web. From the hardware down to its specs, Sony gives people multiple reasons to check out the Xperia Z series. The only problem here (as in, specifically here, where I’m writing from, in the U.S.) is that one would be hard-pressed to find an Xperia Z through their designated carrier.
It seemed like Sony was doing better when it was revealed that the Xperia Z3 would be sold through both T-Mobile and Verizon. Initially, the Xperia Z and Z1 were available for T-Mobile, and only T-Mobile. With the release of the third generation Xperia Z2, no U.S. carriers offered the device. If a person wanted to use the Xperia Z2 in the U.S., they could purchase the unlocked version at full-price from Sony’s own website – which isn’t the business model that most U.S. citizens are akin to using when it comes to upgrading their smartphones. When the Xperia Z3 popped up on two major carriers in the U.S. (Z3 on T-Mobile; Z3v on Verizon), one would deduce that Sony was finally making progress here.
That is, until today, where we find that T-Mobile officially announced that the Xperia Z3 is no longer offered through T-Mobile.
Although the Xperia Z3v is still available through Verizon (for now, at least) many are left wondering exactly why the Xperia Z3 is no longer available for T-Mobile. Was there something wrong with the device itself? Are they simply making room for the Xperia Z4, which is rumored to be coming soon? Or maybe something else went awry with the relationship between Sony and T-Mobile?
One thing is for sure: With the Xperia Z3 only being available on just one carrier again, things still aren’t looking great for Sony’s mobile market in the U.S.
In my opinion, there’s one obvious answer here: carrier exclusives need to be dropped. The Z3 being available for just two out of the four carriers in the U.S. was an issue from the get-go, and is an even bigger problem with availability from just one. I’m not sure if this is an issue on Sony’s end or the carrier’s end, but I hope that whoever is making it difficult would stop. I think that, for the most part, the Xperia Z phones are great devices – even their “mini” versions are on point. I would love for these devices to be available on every carrier.
Carrier exclusivity has mostly been taken care of in recent years. The Apple iPhone, HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S and Note, LG G, and Moto X devices are all available for Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile customers. Each of these phones, as a result, are very popular in the U.S. I’m fairly certain that if Sony could release the Xperia Z on each carrier – consistently, that is – that they would have the same level of recognition.
An alternative answer is that Sony is known for being slow, even for Android, at updating their smartphones to the latest software version.
I don’t think that Sony is a lost cause. If Sony can put all of their focus on the upcoming Xperia Z4 – if they can make it available for every carrier, if they can provide faster updates for their phone, if they can up the ante on their marketing here – then I think 2015 could be a great year for Sony. With that being said, I’m pretty sure I’ve made these same statements before regarding Xperias of the past and they’ve yet to happen; however, since Sony hasn’t stopped making great flagships, I’ve yet to lose all hope.