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Introducing the Xperia Z’s Younger Cousin, the Sony Xperia ZL

Sony Xperia ZL (red)

Sony’s Xperia Z smartphone has been announced, with certain countries like Russia receiving the smartphone this month. As an American, I am excited about the waterproof, dust-resistant Xperia Z smartphone and tablet — and want to know when it will head to the USA. I wish it would arrive this month, but it will most likely be June or July when the device heads to America. In the meantime, Sony wants to reassure and comfort its American consumers by introducing the Xperia ZL to the American market.

The Xperia ZL will come with the following features and specs:

* 5-inch display
* 1080p video recording
* 13-megapixel, Exmor camera (4128 x 3096 pixels)
* 1.5Ghz, quad-core processor (Snapdragon S4)
* 2GB RAM
* Long Term Evolution (LTE)
* Near Field Communication (NFC)
* 1920 x 1080 screen resolution
* Timescape User Interface (UI)
* OS: Android 4.1.2 (updated to 4.2 later)
* 2,370mAh battery
* 500 hours of standby time
* 13 hours of talk time
* 40 hours of music play

Sony’s Exmor cameras are quality and standard for all smartphones. One rumor currently floating around the smartphone world is that Apple’s iPhone 5S will come with a 13MP, Sony Exmor camera. Sony’s 1920 x 1080 screen resolution is Sony’s newest screen resolution, found also in the Xperia ZL’s older cousin, the Sony Xperia Z. A 5-inch display is typical of smartphones produced this year (LG Optimus Pro, Xperia Z), the exception being Samsung’s new Galaxy S4, rumored to be announced within the next nine days (March 14). The LTE presence implies 4GLTE and fast Internet speeds. NFC is a typical feature of Android smartphones, allowing for Google Wallet purchases as well as the beaming of photos.

The OS will be behind the times, with only Android 4.1.2 to start. The 4.1.2 update, called the “Premium Suite Upgrade,” comes with features such as low-light camera shot, Facebook Lock Ticker, Contextual Page Buddy, Google Now, multi-window mode, easy mode, and Project Butter. The low-light camera shot provides ample lighting in dark conditions so that photos are illuminated, even in low-light environments. Facebook Lock Ticker allows you to view your Facebook RSS feeds on your Android lock screen. While this feature is called “Facebook” Lock Ticker, it can also be called “News Lock Ticker,” since you can also view stocks along with Yahoo news from your lock screen. The multi-window mode is one that Samsung advertised in its demonstrations videos for the Galaxy S3. GS3 users will finally experience this in the 4.1.2 update. Contextual Page Buddy allows your smartphone to perceive user action and respond to it. For example, the phone will start to play your music when you insert the headphones into the top of the phone. Google Now provides you with weather, traffic updates, and local events happening in your area “now,” as opposed to later. You can view weather in real time, not later weather changes. This will help you get out the door and go to work knowing whether or not you need an umbrella and/or jacket.

One of the interesting details about the Xperia ZL smartphone is its ability to run on both AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks — a feature that will save consumers from having to purchase two different phones for both carriers:

“Of particular interest is the extra color variant that’s cropped up — a red option with a black front — and the American ZL’s support for LTE bands 1, 2,4, 5 and 17 alongside the standard pentaband HSPA…in theory that means you’ll have an unlocked handset that can run quite happily on either carrier’s 4G LTE — a unique proposition for the U.S. market” (Alex Dobie, “Unlocked Sony Xperia ZL headed to the US with LTE and new color option”).

Sony’s Xperia ZL also looks to come to the United States in April and will come in black, white, and a new red/black color. It will not have waterproof technology, however, but will likely come for sale at a premium price. The Xperia ZL is but one of Sony’s premium smartphones that will go on sale globally this month — a testimony to Sony’s desire to “rise from the ashes” and come back to stardom in the tech world. Currently, Sony ranks fourth in popularity in the United States, behind Apple, Samsung, and Huawei, but wants to become third and overtake Huawei to arrive shoulder-to-shoulder with Apple and Samsung.

The company’s current Xperia Z commercial testifies to Sony’s desire to return from the dustbin of history. The commercial focuses on major events such as the Sony Walkman, the Sony TV, the Sony camcorder (filming the Berlin Wall deconstruction in 1989), while featuring the new Sony Xperia Z phone in the last scene of the commercial. Sony has other new smartphones available at the Sony site, such as the Sony Xperia Advance, a waterproof smartphone that comes with only 4GB of memory (and an expandable memory slot). Of the companies competing to rise to the likes of Samsung and Apple (Huawei, LG, HTC, Sony, and ZTE), Sony has the greatest chance of winning the bronze award in the smartphone wars. Sony has a history of excellent products that many American consumers trust, not to mention the premium build that comes with its products. Sony has made itself a brand name for American households, and consumers identify Sony with an excellent brand. ZTE, LG, and Huawei are not very well-known and have not produced products of finesse before the American public. While many are confident in Sony, only time will tell as to the veracity of Huawei’s claim (and Sony’s rise).