Sony's had a chance to regroup and reevaluate its own smartphone strategy and their newly found focus on the US market is more than welcome.
Sony has taken everything it has learned about making phones since the Xperia Z and applied it to the Xperia X lineup. Sony's main model in the lineup is the Xperia X, which means Sony doesn't think every phone needs the highest-end hardware to perform well. But if any customer still does want the high end stuff, they can reach for the Xperia X Performance.
The Xperia X Performance is designed to compete with the high-end flagships, and as such, it carries the highest price of all the other Xperia X models. It will be released in the US on July 17 with a price of $700 and will be available in 4 colors: Black, Rose Gold, Gold, and White.
However, we're not quite sure whether Sony has come up with the right flagship feature mix this year. The industry has long become a spec race and those who refuse to participate in this race rarely succeed even when they enjoy formidable brand loyalty (HTC can agree for sure).
The steep pricing of the Xperia X Performance won't help its case either and the fact that Sony won't be selling through carriers but only through retail outlets like Best Buy and Amazon, may not be enough to secure a strong foothold in the US mobile market.
Sony however may actually be fine with that. They are approaching it differently. It's not an all-out effort to win the market but it's rather about taking small but deliberate steps to establishing a presence in the mobile segment. So from this point of view, their plan might actually make sense as we are more than certainly underestimating the challenges they may be facing there.
Other than that, the Xperia X Performance is an excellent example of the compact flagship category that represents a rare breed of devices, which may as well experience a comeback in markets outside Asia.
We are excited to see how the Xperia X faces off with this year's flagship contenders. It's still early and we aren't working on a review yet, but this should be an interesting year for Sony from the US' point of view.