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Sony wants to skip entry-level smartphones, focus on premium hardware

Sony Xperia Z

One of Android’s main differences when compared to iOS is the wide range of hardware that includes devices appealing to budget-conscious users and separate hardware for spec-hungry addicts. It sound like Sony might be changing that pattern. Sony’s Xperia product marketing manager, Stephen Sneeden, told CNET Asia that Sony wants to follow in the footsteps of Apple and Samsung by focusing solely on high-end device.

“We’re ready to be a premium smartphone provider, logically then, at the very entry level is where you lost the ‘Sonyness.’ And it’s where you cannot implement some of these wonderful things from Sony at such a low cost, we might leave the very entry tier to some other manufacturers,” Sneeden said.

This statement comes on the heels of Sony releasing two new Xperia phones during CES 2013: the Xperia Z and the cheaper, Xperia ZL. Clearly, as the Japanese company released a mid-range and high-end device at CES, the company is still interested in catering to those two distinct product categories. Since Sony was the only major smartphone manufacturer to announce new devices, they have both received a lot of attention and Sony’s been enjoying its time in the spotlight.

Major manufacturers like Motorola and Samsung typically release a high-end device that features the best each company has to offer alongside a lower-end model that comes with a few compromises to reach a more affordable price. For Samsung, the Galaxy S line is the flagship device collection and entry-level handsets are released periodically throughout the year, though the devices rarely debut with any flare.

Since it’s the mid and high range of devices that Sony is targeting, it’s fortunate that both the Xperia Z and Xperia ZL look like Sony’s best smartphones yet. The two smartphones also show a new interest in introducing Sony hardware exclusives like the Mobile Bravia Engine 2 for display, Exmor RS for cameras, and the increasingly useful Battery Stamina software. If Sony wants to replicate the success of Samsung and Apple, these unique features are essential to standing out in the Android crowd. The question is whether the Android market has room for another Samsung.

How do you feel about Sony’s new approach to hardware? Do the latest Xperias have you hungry for more?