Sony’s New Phone Will Cost More Than the Galaxy S8
Sony said it would begin selling its new high-end smartphone, the Xperia XZ Premium, in the United States for $800. Preorders start on June 12 for delivery June 19.
The unlocked phone will be sold online and is compatible with GSM networks, like those of AT&T (T) and T-Mobile (TMUS). The price is higher than the $725 for Samsung’s Galaxy S8, which has the same amount of storage and a slightly larger screen.
But the Sony’s 5.5-inch screen is the first with an ultra high resolution 4K display with high dynamic range. There’s not much content available yet in 4K, though Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming video players are adding more all the time. New Netflix (NFLX) shows like Stranger Things are available in 4K, for example.
Sony’s Android phone is among the first running on Qualcomm’s (QCOM) new Snapdragon 835 chip set and X16 modem. That means, like Samsung’s Galaxy S8, it can reach download speeds of up to 1 gigabit, although real world conditions make it unlikely the maximum will be reached very often.
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Sony has largely been an also-ran in smartphones, but is aiming for a comeback via the “unlocked” market, selling phones online through Amazon (AMZN) and in stores like Best Buy (BBY) without partnering with mobile carriers. The unlocked market overall grew 12% last year, according to the NPD Group. In 2016—its first year with the online marketing approach—Sony didn’t make a big splash, but sales exceeded its forecasts, Don Mesa, Sony’s head of marketing for North America, told Fortune in February.
Still, Sony (SNE) has made money from the smartphone boom over the past decade largely as a supplier to other companies. Apple (AAPL), for example, uses Sony cameras in the iPhone.
Sony’s new phone comes with 64 GB of storage and an expandable memory card slot. The phone also has a 19 megapixel rear camera that can take slow motion video at 946 frames per second.