Sony to discontinue premium standard handsets

Sony to discontinue premium standard handsets [Image: SanneBerg via iStock]

Sony will discontinue its premium standard handsets after a period of poor sales in the market.

This will mean smartphones such as the Sony Xperia X and Sony Xperia X Compact will no longer be available to buy. These products boasted modern specifications but were sold at affordable prices in order to appeal to the budget market.

Sony confirmed the move to discontinue the handsets as part of its 2017 Investor Day. Competition from Apple and Samsung has made it difficult for Sony to make a big impact in the market, with both brands retaining and growing a strong following over several years.

Official company figures show that 5.1 million Xperia models were sold in the last three months of 2016, showing a drop of 2.5 million units compared to the same quarter in 2015.

Overall, Sony sold 15 million smartphones in 2016, representing its lowest yearly total since 2012.

The tech giant will now focus exclusively on flagship and mid-range models. It hopes the new Xperia XZ Premium handset, which runs on the extremely powerful mobile chip Snapdragon 835, will prove to be a hit in the market.

The model will be available in bronze punk, deep sea black and luminous chrome. Its capabilities include super slow motion videos, a 4K HDR display and superfast download speeds.

It will feature a memory stacked Exmor RS sensor, allowing faster image scanning and data transfer. What’s more, super slow motion video playback will make it possible to watch media that is four times slower than many other devices.

Smart technology in the smartphone will also be able to recognise a user’s regular battery usage and issue warnings if power is due to run out later in the day. A stamina mode will conserve battery and keep the device running for longer.