With most of the attention focussed on the war of Samsung vs. Apple. As Samsung launches the S4 to hordes of customers wanting the largest smartphone on the market and Apple’s acolytes wait slavishly for the iPhones next iteration; Sony has gone and created waves of its own with the new Xperia toughphone series.
Mobile Innovation Stagnating?
It seems that nearly every new phone to come on to the market in the past year or so have only had upgrades of processor speed, screen size or software to offer the consumer, there has not been a market shaker for a while now, that is until Sony’s new duo of Xperia phones hit the market. Boasting some fairly impressive hardware under the hood (the processor speed and screen size are not the fastest out there) where these two phones really carve their own niche is the fact that they are waterproof to IP57 standard; these phones function up to 1 metre underwater!
Now, some of you may be thinking “waterproof phones? Nothing new there” and you’d be right; splashproof phones occasionally show their face with Sony Ericssons Vivaz or a whole range of phones from JCB but splashproof phones haven’t impressed the market if only because of the difference between splashproof and waterproof. Panasonic’s Eluga is one waterproof smartphone you may have missed from last years offerings, it was a promising competitor on the smartphone scene though Panasonic being relatively unknown on the market meant that maybe this product was also relatively unknown. It is also a matter of market requirements and the changing mobile phone user; todays users compared with those of four or five years ago are somewhat of a different character. Customers are using their phones in an increasing range of environments for purposes beyond that of just calls and texts, all the applications, widgets, bells and whistles of the smartphone generation don’t mean a thing if it’s raining and you can’t use your phone. Also consider how photography culture is changing, everybody has a camera in their pocket these days and so increasing the environments available to the mobile cameraman is sure to be a winner to the market.
Xperia Series: Tough Enough?
As people become increasingly proud of and attached to their mobile devices; a great many of them are finding their smartphone experience cut short when they drop their phone on the floor or in the sink only to find out that their screen lost its argument with gravity or that their insurance policy doesn’t cover water damage. Anyone who has been frustrated by this experience should consider making their next phone a Sony Xperia as they will be able to truly appreciate dropping a phone 2 metres onto the edge of a sink and into the water without their music or video recording being interrupted, without their screen cracking or without their phone dying forever.
Waterproofing is sure to be a must have feature for any device in the near future as humanities communication network becomes increasingly mobile and, in this writers opinion, it’s about time. Having lost numerous phones to an errant puddle or a sudden downpour; it’s appreciated that a mobile phone company has come back to the market with a solution to a problem and not just a bigger screen or rounder edges. Whilst yes; waterproofing has been possible for phones for years there just hasn’t been so much to do on our phones in a thunderstorm, we couldn’t listen to music or watch video on our phones at all, let alone at a rainy bus stop if we needed to. Now that the smartphone market is well established and as customers needs have developed alongside their wants, so mobile phone manufacturers will have to meet those needs quickly or risk losing market share in a highly profitable industry.
Even if the new members of the Xperia family weren’t waterproof they would still be major market players with their highly durable, scratch resistant screen and promise to be movers and shakers in the market, effectively rebooting Sony as a mobile phone manufacturer and offering customers a versatile and high spec smartphone which will last long enough for the next generation of phones to have shown their faces. With the Xperia Z being the stronger phone of the two with its 13MP camera, larger screen and quadcore processor and all the benefits of an Android OS it is sure to draw attention away from the iphone series and Samsung’s S series as it combines all the fancy under the hood gadgets with some new ones (the BRAVIA engine makes 720p video run crystal clear) with very impressive durability which Samsung and Apple just cannot offer consumers.