At the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Sony announced that in Spring the company would launch the Xperia Touch priced at 1,499 euros ($1,587) beginning in Japan and Europe and later coming to the U.S.
A concept projector product that allowed users to interact with any surface as if it was a touch screen was unveiled by the Japanese technology company last year. However the usability of the prototype was not good as it was buggy and difficult. However almost a year later the company has been able to vastly improve on that device which it now calls Xperia Touch and which was unveiled at MWS.
With this device, users would be able to gain full access to apps from the Google Play store as it runs Google’s mobile operating system Android.
The Xperia Touch is small enough to be portable and has built-in speakers. With a screen of up to 80 inches, it can project against both a horizontal and vertical surface. However, Sony says it is trying to enhance and improve the image that is projected at 80 inches when the image loses its touch capabilities.
Amid stiff competition in smartphones where it has failed to gain significant market share, Sony has been trying to push into new product categories. The so-called Internet of Things (IOT) market, which refers to devices connected to the internet, is the place where the company sees its future. A wireless earphone with a built-in artificial voice assistant, called the Xperia Ear Open Concept by Sony and is still considered to be e concept product was also showed off by the company. Sony has gone back to the drawing board and redesigned the concept after it had unveiled the Xperia Ear last year.
Xperia Touch has been used to show Sony’s ability to innovate and because of its price, it will not sell in large quantities, analysts said.
“It is an incredibly ambitious product and Sony should be applauded for having the courage to invest in a completely new area. At its current price it is out of reach to anyone but the most dedicated and affluent gadget lover but it may well be steering a course to the future of projection technology in people’s homes,” Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight said.
On the other hand, as the company looks to stabilise profits in its once-struggling mobile division, a smartphone with the world’s first 4K high dynamic range (HDR) screen, improved camera, and the ability to download large files at super-fast speeds was launched by Sony.
Sony’s continued bid to play in the premium end of the market against the likes of Apple, Samsung, and Huawei was marked by the launch of this device, called the Xperia XZ Premium, which was unveiled on Monday at the MWC.
In a bid to boost profit, the company’s strengths have been focused on that include display technology and camera in the Xperia XZ. The loss making smartphone division finally saw profits in the last two quarters and this has marked the company’s path to stabilize the unit.
Sony has focused on key markets to return to profitability and has slimmed down its smartphone portfolio under CEO Kazuo Hirai.
(Adapted from CNBC)