Friday 15 December 2017

Sony unveils waterproof smartphone at tech conference

Claire Hayhurst

Sony has unveiled a host of "groundbreaking" products - including a waterproof smartphone that can take "world-leading" photographs.

The technology giant showcased the Android smartphone Xperia Z1 during a highly-anticipated press conference at Berlin IFA today.


Xperia Z1 uses Sony's award-winning camera technology as well as applications including live social broadcasting - allowing users to share live streams of experiences on Facebook.


Sony also used the 45-minute conference in the German capital to unveil an attachment which turns smartphones into top-of-the-range cameras.


The new QX10 and QX100 lens-style cameras are designed to mount on all smartphones - not just Sony models.


Sony president and chief executive Kazuo Hirari revealed the Xperia Z1, which will launch globally this month, at a packed press conference.


He called the smartphone "the absolute embodiment of that one Sony ethos" as it used expertise from every aspect of the company.


He said Sony had "created a smartphone that is not only beautiful but also fully waterproof".


The12.7cm (5in) phone features Sony's G Lens with a 27mm (1.06in) wide angle and bright F2.0 aperture, custom made large 1/2.3-type CMOS image sensor Exmor RS for mobile with 20.7MP and a BIONZ for mobile image processing engine.


Sony say independent tests show the Xperia Z1 provides the "best overall image quality" of leading smartphones.


Mr Hirari said the smartphone captures beautiful, sharp and bright images in lowlight conditions, which he said is an "experience you will find only in a Sony smartphone".


The phone's camera also has a high shutter speed and 3x focus "with zero loss of clarity", he added.


Applications on the Xperia Z1 include Social live, giving a live stream from the handset straight to Facebook.


Likes and comments made by Facebook friends stream to the phone, allowing contacts to direct the filming from anywhere in the world.


The phone also has Info-eye, which provides information from the Eiffel Tower to food that goes with a wine the camera is pointed at.


Timeshift burst mode captures 61 images in two seconds, while the AR effect allows users to overlay a section of custom animations on to pictures.


The phone, which has Sony's OmniBalance design, is made from a solid one-piece aluminium frame with tempered glass on the front and back.


Mr Hirari said media captured on the phone would be uploaded to PlayMemories Online2, a free cloud-based service with no storage limit.


"Xperia Z1 represents a significant milestone for Sony in our continued efforts to deliver unforgettable experiences to our consumers," said Kunimasa Suzuki, president and chief executive of Sony Mobile Communications.


"Not only by bringing the power of Sony to the smartphone and through close collaboration with our partners but by setting a new standard in premium smartphones."


Sony launched a number of other new products at IFA, including the QX10 and QX100, high-performance camera that clip on to smartphones.


Mr Hirari, who described himself as "an avid photographer" said the cameras turned smartphones into "premier digital compacts".


"It really completely transforms your mobile shooting experience," he added.


Mr Hirari said Sony's SmartWatch 2 could be used as a second screen for the smartphone.


The SmartWatch 2 enables users to read messages, handle calls, access notifications from their wrists - as well as triggering the Xperia Z1's camera shutter.


"Sony is poised to lead from the front," he said.

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