No one can accuse Sony of not sticking to the plan. Since 2013 and the Xperia Z, it has applied a design ethos called OmniBalance to its smartphones, while other manufacturers changed designs every year. However, this may change in the near future when Sony introduces a complete new look for its premium devices. Sony’s Kenichiro Hibi, who heads up the company’s operations in India, said in an interview that the next generation of Sony phones will have “a complete new design.”
What will this new design look like? Sony’s obviously not giving anything away, but Hibi does add that the new design will feature on “a new generation of products,” indicating we will see more than one new device. He also chose to discuss the two big trends affecting smartphone designs in 2017: bezel-less screens with an 18:9 aspect ratio. Samsung and LG have pushed this design into public awareness, and other bezel-less screens from Apple, Xiaomi, and Essential have changed the way we expect flagship phones to look.
Sony’s most recent phones, such as the Xperia XZ1, have very large bezels compared to the Galaxy S8 and the LG V30, making them look less modern. Sony obviously feels it’s time for a change, but it’s not certain it will adopt the bezel-less style. It’s also unknown if it will shift too far away from the square corners and boxier design that defines OmniBalance. Whether you like it or not, it’s impossible to mistake a Sony phone for any other.
It’s not the first time hints have been dropped about a Sony redesign. A mid-September forum post by a user, in a section dedicated to Sony rumors, claimed redesigned Sony phones will arrive at Mobile World Congress in 2018, and the new design language will be named Mirai, the Japanese word for “future.” There’s no source to this, but as it came before Hibi’s interview, it does have a degree of credibility.
Sony has launched smartphones at Mobile World Congress in the past. The 2018 show is scheduled to take place at the end of February next year.