Sony’s latest flagship smartphone, the Xperia XZ2 Premium, was officially announced in mid April of this year. It is the successor to the Xperia XZ2 released earlier this year, which is less feature loaded but does have a lower price tag. Both phones are very similar though and the difference could be likened to the Apple iPhone X and X Plus. However, the XZ2 Premium is only 0.1 inch larger than the XZ2.
According to Sony’s Japanese website, the XZ2 Premium will release nationwide in Japan at the end of August. In China, pre-orders open on July 11, with potential shipping dates starting on the 22nd. The XZ2 Premium will release in United States and the UK on July 30th. Pre-orders start July 9th at Best Buy and on Amazon in the United States.
The XZ2 Premium appears to only be available through Japan’s mobile carrier DOCOMO, with a contract plan, but outright it is 112,752 yen. It has a $999.99 price tag in the United States. There is no official price yet for the UK version, but it is rumored to be around £699. In China, it is priced at 6,000 yuan. The XZ2 Premium is one of the most expensive smartphones available, just under the iPhone X, but it does have some of the best specs of any phone on the current market.
Highlights of the XZ2 Premium:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Chipset
- Octa-core processor
- 6GB RAM
- 64GB internal storage with expandable Micro SD slot
- Dual SIM
- 5.8” IPS 16M pixel display
- 4K resolution,16:9 ratio
- Dual 19MP f/1.8 and 12MP f/1.6 rear camera
- 4K Video with HDR
- 5-axis image stabilization
- 3540 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0
Both the XZ2 and XZ2 Premium are the first of Sony’s smartphones to have fingerprints scanners. They can also use the PlayStation 4’s (PS4) Remote Play, which must be downloaded from the app store and synced wirelessly with a DualShock4 controller. This means PS4 games can be played on the phone around the house, but only on the same WiFi as the PS4.
Since the release of the first Xperia phone, under the now-defunct Ericsson moniker, Sony has been working exclusively with DOCOMO. This might be why the XZ2 Premium has only been officially announced with mobile carriers on DOCOMO’s site. At around 73 million users, DOCOMO has more than half of Japan’s mobile phone market.
In Japan, mobile phones are called keitai denwa, or portable telephones but it is often shortened to just keitai. Mobile phones became so ubiquitous in Japan that it led to a keitai culture.
Mobile phones were first introduced to Japan in 1991 by NTT DOCOMO and shortly after in 1993 their first digital mobile phone released with 2G data. However, smartphones were slow to popularize till Sony, a domestic Japanese manufacturer, spearheaded their development and released the first Xperia phone in 2008 with Windows Mobile. The Xperia line permanently switched to Android in 2010.
Japanese keitai users text with messaging apps such as LINE, which is similar to WhatsApp, and allows for text messages to be sent over data or WiFi, instead of a text messaging plan with the carrier. LINE has adorable mascots, called LINE FRIENDS, and released a smart speaker called Clova, similar to Amazon Echo or Google Home. Clova can be used in conjunction with the LINE app and advertises hands-free calling, but they have a myriad of other functions as well.
Keitai culture has its downsides too. There is a bit of an epidemic of people walking around while looking at their smartphone. A Japanese person would never make a phone call in certain public spaces like on a train or in a restaurant, but it is quite common to see them glued to the phone screen as they walk. Even the older generation. This phenomenon is colloquially referred to as aruki-sumaho or “walking-smartphone”.
What do you think of Japan’s keitai culture? Are you guilty of aruki-sumaho as well?