The Xperia Z line has been around for some time now, from the first Xperia Z to the Z2, Z3, Z4, and then Z5 (with its Z5 Compact, Premium, and original models). Sony has always stuck to its tried-and-true formula of water and dust resistance, as well as its glass body and metal frame that has provided a look consumers wanted with water and dust resistance that served a functional purpose. Sony’s Xperia cameras have been excellent as well, with Sony winning top awards from company DxOMark Mobile for the last few years in terms of photography and videography (Samsung has been Sony’s sole competitor in this area). Many have presumed, as a result of the Xperia line’s existence, that there would be an Xperia Z6 in the works to arrive later this year.
At the same time, however, apart from Sony’s presence in mobile and the company’s nostalgic brand that has been synonymous with Sony WalkMan and PlayStation, Sony has had trouble marketing its Xperia line. The company has spent little money to market its smartphone lineup in the US, a big market where Apple and Samsung reign supreme, and the Japanese manufacturer has shown more affection towards the Japanese than it has American consumers who are willing to spend money on what they believe to be a quality device (iPhone and Galaxy buyers, mind you.).
The company has been rumored to end its smartphone division, but Sony said it would not do this, and that the Xperia line wasn’t going anywhere. While all this is true, and the company is living up to its promises, Sony is making some significant changes. Among these is the termination of the Xperia Z line. Via the Sony Germany Facebook page, Sony confirmed that there will be no Xperia Z6 to come. Tech site Android Authority translated the German into English:
“Hi Sarah, the [Xperia] Z6 will not continue to exist. The new x series represents a modified concept that will meet the needs of our users even more. Of course, you can still rely on the latest technology in our smartphones — which has nothing to do with the name. 🙂 Best regards, your Sony team.”
There is some understanding lost in translation, which isn’t hard to understand, but. in short, “the Z6 will not continue to exist” is language for “there won’t be an Xperia Z6.” This statement could mean that the Xperia Z6 is a prototype in existence for now but that Sony won’t be bringing it to market. Perhaps this is the case, but it’s clear: whatever Xperia Z6 is in existence, Sony won’t be selling it to consumers. The Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact, and Xperia Z5 Premium are the last of the Xperia Z series. As a permanent substitute for the Xperia Z line, Sony is creating the new Xperia X line. Why the company has decided to stick with a letter instead of a proper name, no one knows. How many letters can you use without creating an alphabet soup of confusion is anyone’s guess.
Some see this as a good thing, but I’m not sure that renaming the Xperia Z line will solve Sony’s problems. Microsoft renamed its Internet Explorer browser (now called Edge) when it created Windows 10 Mobile, but the company needed to fix the problems within IE — not rename it. You can rename a skunk, but it doesn’t take away the skunk’s foul odor. A lemon is still a lemon, even if you name it “potpourri,” and Sony should keep this in mind. Whether the smartphone line is called Xperia Z or Xperia X, it won’t change Sony’s fortunes unless Sony is willing to think outside the box and meet consumer needs, including those in the United States. Only then will Sony have a fighting chance.