Sony has had a tough time breaking into the U.S. smartphone market. In our review of the Sony Xperia Z3, we praised its screen and camera, and its waterproof nature should have given it an advantage over many similar but less rugged phones. The problem was that it just didn’t sell well.
Part of the issue was that from the start it was only available on two carriers. Now, just over five months since the phone’s release, it’s down to just one. Though they haven’t said why, it appears that T-Mobile has discontinued the Xperia Z3. When a customer asked the official T-Mobile Twitter account why they couldn’t find the Z3 on the company’s website, it responded that the phone is no longer available.
A look at the Verizon Wireless website shows that the carrier is still carrying its version of the phone, the Xperia Z3V, so it doesn’t seem that Sony has discontinued the phone altogether. The only Sony phones currently available from T-Mobile, however, are refurbished versions of the Xperia Z and Z1S. And while the carrier has yet to make an official statement, it seems likely that the Xperia Z3 is being dropped due to low sales.
Slow software updates have plagued Sony devices for some time now, and while competitor smartphones were being updated to Android 5.0 even as it launched, the Xperia Z3 didn’t receive a Lollipop upgrade until last month. It’s also possible that Sony has begun focusing on its upcoming Xperia Z4, and simply isn’t shipping any more of its predecessor. Also, while the Xperia Z3 was a fairly powerful phone, it lacked some of the more high-profile features of its competitors, like a quad-HD screen.
While the Xperia Z4 looks fairly similar, it does boast a 5.5-inch quad-HD display, which may give it a fighting chance against flagships from LG and Samsung. Recent reports see the Z4 launching in the second quarter of 2015, so it’s possible that Sony is planning to make room for its launch by clearing the older phone from shelves.