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Sony Readies Android Smartphones, Tablet & Wearables

Berlin – Sony will go to the IFA show this week with the company’s first Android Wear OS smart watch, a new smart band, and two Z3 smartphones and a Z3 tablet. The smartphones and tablet will offer a PlayStation4 gaming experience.

All products ship in the fall, and all will be available in the U.S. T-Mobile will offer a black version of the Z3 smartphone in the U.S.

In launching the Android-based Z3 and Z3 Compact smartphones and 8-inch Z3 Tablet Compact, Sony is stepping up audio, photo and video capabilities compared to current models. All three feature high-resolution audio playback, and the two phones also step up to ISO 12,800 sensitivity for low-light picture taking. All three also feature brighter displays with enhanced outdoor contrast compared with current models.

The tablet is Sony’s first 8-inch model, joining a 10.1-inch tablet.

The PS4 experience on the Z3 phones and tablet offers PS4 Remote Play, enabling the Z3 devices to connect to a PS4 via Wi-Fi to control games. In addition, the PlayStation App lets users use the Z3 devices as a second screen to remotely watch the game play of friends, communicate with PlayStation Network friends, or purchase PS4 games and download to PS4.

Like previous Xperia smartphones and tablets, the three devices are waterproof for up to 30 minutes in up to 2 meters of water, but they kick up dust protection to become dust-tight, said Xperia product marketing manager Stephen Sneeden.

The two smartphones feature 4K video capture like their predecessors, but the two phones add IS0 12,800 sensitivity and 25mm lens compared with their predecessors’ 27mm lens.

The tablet lacks 4K capture.

SteadyShot is improved in all three Z3 devices with the addition of an intelligent active mode, which stabilizes a video when the subject and the video-taker are moving simultaneously. The feature delivers up/down stability and panning without blurring, said Sneeden.

All three also get the ability to pause and resume video recording like a standalone camcorder so users don’t have to shoot multiple clips during an event.

Two other new camera features are Face In and Multicamera. The former lets users take a picture simultaneously from the front and back cameras to create a split-screen photo or superimpose one image in an oval on the other.

Multicamera lets up to three Xperia devices or Sony-family cameras take pictures and videos of the same event, then integrates the separate images and videos into a single split-screen photo or video. Devices must be paired via NFC and connected via Wi-Fi Direct.

Other new camera features include the ability to write on pictures and broadcast videos live to YouTube.

To upgrade audio performance, all three devices add DSEE HX compressed-music enhancer to restore sounds lost when music is compressed. All three also store and play back high-resolution music files.

The three devices feature 2.5GHz quad-core processors, up from 2.3GHz. The Z3 phone and tablet feature 3GB RAM like other Sony models. The Z3 Compact phone features 2GB RAM.

Prices on the three devices weren’t disclosed.

The Z3 phone features a 5.2-inch display like before but in a thinner and lighter package at 5.5 ounces. The Z3 Compact increases its screen size to 4.6 inches from its predecessor’s 4.3 inches without increasing the phone’s length or width. It weighs 4.5 ounces.

The Compact’s screen resolution is 720p compared with the full-size model’s 1080p screen.

In the Z3, battery life has been extended to two days from 1.4 days of normal use with default settings, excluding the phone’s selectable stamina mode that extends standby time.

The Z3 Tablet Compact is promoted as the world’s slimmest and lightest waterproof tablet among compact tablets with screen sizes from 7 to less than 9 inches. It measures 0.25-inch in depth and weighs 9.5 ounces. It comes with 8-megapixel camera, and will be available in Wi-Fi and LTE versions.

Sony’s third-generation smart watch adopts Google’s Android Wear OS and features 1.6-inch 320 by 320 transreflective display used in the Smart Watch 2. The new models also features GPS and the water-proof and dustproof rating of the Z3 trio.

Smart Watch 3, priced at 229 Euros, also features Lifelog technology, which is used in Sony’s smart band to communicate via Bluetooth with an Android Lifelog app that offers fitness tracking. The smartphone-installed app also lets users log places visited, music played, games played and books read for presentation on a visual interface. The app also helps users set activity goals.

In smart bands, the third-generation model is called the Smart Band Talk, which is Sony’s first smart band with curved E-Ink display and first with microphone and speaker to place calls through a Bluetooth-connected phone. It also accepts voice commands.

Smart Band Talk, priced at 159 euros, features activity tracker, and it notifies users of calls, messages, Facebook Likes or tweets are received. It can also be used to play, pause and skip tracks playing on a Bluetooth-connected smartphone.

It features NFC and the water- and dustproof ratings of the smart watch and Z3 devices.

Also new is a water- and dust-proof version of the M2 midtier phone and a midprice E3 smartphone with LTE.