Sony's new Xperia Z smartphone aims to "bring the wow back" to the brand by using a combination of simple design and user interface elements, the company says.
Speaking at the local unveiling of the new Xperia Z Android smartphone, the company's Australian managing director, John Featherstone, said the Xperia Z's "simplistic design and ideology" will bring a wow factor back into the brand that's been lacking in previous releases.
"Everybody knows Sony, it's a brand people trust but we need to get the wow back," explained Featherstone. "I believe with Xperia Z using this simplistic type of design and ideology behind it, it really brings the wow back."
The Sony Xperia Z was first announced globally in January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The flagship Android phone will go on sale next month in Australia and features a 5in full HD 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera and is water and dust-resistant.
The Xperia Z has has rounded edges and smooth reflective surfaces on all sides, and the phone uses a full pane of glass on both the front and the back.
Despite a long list of impressive specifications, Featherstone said the key feature of the Xperia Z is not specs but a simple user interface that's easy for a consumer to identify with.
"It's not just about the fact that it's [the Xperia Z] IP rated and it's water resistant to handle all the spills and so forth, it's also about the UI," he explained. "When you're looking at an email or an SMS it's very white in the background, very clear, very concise, very simplistic. Yet when you're looking at content it's very immersive, there's darker colours used, and different widgets used to try and immerse you into the content."
"When you look at displays, yes it's 1080p, but so what? That's not what it's about. It's about whiter whites, blacker blacks and more vivid colours."
Featherstone said the shift from a focus on smartphone specifications to the software user interface and ease of use is what consumers are looking for.
"When people are looking at smartphones, it's gone from the standard task of making simple phone calls and it has morphed into something much more," he explained. "What you are seeing is things like memory, processor, operating system, they're all just hygiene factors now, you just need to tick the box."
"It's moved well beyond that, now we're moving towards a situation where there is other hooks that consumers are looking for around design, display, camera, connectivity, applications and social services."
"Could your mother take a handset and sync it up with a home theatre system, a TV, a headset? Now I think my mother could do it. And that's really what this is about, it's about simplifying the user experience for everyone."
The Sony Xperia Z will launch in Australia next month and will be available through Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Telstra has already published a "register your interest" Web page for the Xperia Z, but no pricing was announced at today's event.
Are you wowed by the Sony Xperia Z? What feature of the phone most interests you? Let us know in the comments below!