In a move that could cement its position in the premium phone market, Sony’s new-generation smartphone will have an all-new design language, the company’s India managing director Kenichiro Hibi told indianexpress.com. Hibi shed light on the upcoming flagship smartphone on the sidelines of the launch of the Xperia XZ1 on Monday, which is priced at Rs 44,990 in India.
Sony has been stuck with the same industrial design for its Xperia smartphones for a while now. The company this year launched two high-profile smartphones – Xperia XZ Premium and Xperia XZ1. And both the phones feature thick bezels above and below. Its key competitors in the premium segment, be it Samsung, LG and now Apple, have moved onto bezel-less designs.
Asked whether Sony will adopt a new design language for its future smartphones, Hibi said, “We have deployed an omnibalance design as long as the X series continues to be available in the market. Also, we are planning to launch new generation of products and you can expect a complete new design from the devices”.
Hibi acknowledged the current market scenario where more smartphone manufacturers are adopting the unusual 18:9 aspect ratio and a bezel-less design language. In order to keep pace with the competition, Sony may be looking to adopt a nearby bezel-less design for its next-generation flagship, which according to Hibi will arrive “soon”. Though the company isn’t ready to share more information about the upcoming smartphone series yet.
Sony has been facing an uphill task in the premium smartphone market in India, where Samsung and Apple continue to hold the top two positions. The company has said that India will remain its focal point, but the focus will be on the high-end, premium segment.
“India is a huge market but the vast majority is the entry-level segment which is not coming in”, Hibi said.
However, the company has no plans to exit the mid-end segment, which is also crucial for any smartphone manufacturer to survive in a market like India. Sony will focus on the premium mid-end segment, which starts above Rs. 20,000. The Japanese company has recently launched the Xperia XA1 Plus in India at a price of Rs 24,990.
For Sony, the Xperia XZ1 is not a flagship smartphone, instead the company likes to call it as the “mass-market flagship”. Which is why it is priced less than the competition. The company said the Xperia XZ Premium will remain its flagship of 2017, which has a 4K HDR display and is priced at Rs 60,000 in the Indian market.