Has Sony just killed its Xperia brand of smartphones? | by GroundedTech | May, 2024

In the last couple of years Sony had managed to get the Xperia line back to profitability. It did this by being hyper focused on what they were offering to buyers. A more specialised camera system along with software designed for a particular niche of users. Offering features such as a unique 4K display, a camera shutter button and a more practical design. This is a hardcore fanbase. The 1 V is an excellent device and one that I’ve used a lot, but I’m seeing a lot of negative discussion around the VI from this hardcore group of users.

So what has changed to cause this? With the Xperia 1 VI it seems Sony has changed a number of things to appeal more to the “mainstream”. We now have a change in aspect ratio from the five year long 21:9 aspect ratio to a more common 19.5:9. This display is now 1080p down from the 4K resolution we’ve expected for the last five years, but it is now LTPO which is a big boon for battery life. The biggest issue is the change to the apps. Sony opted to have dedicated apps for photo and video. We had Photography Pro which included a basic mode. Videography Pro which was an absolutely excellent app for a mixture of auto and manual video. Plus a Cinematography Pro app for those that really wanted to get into the 21:9 cinema style video with all of the exceptional manual controls Sony had to offer.

These are all gone.

Sony has opted to combine all of these apps and functions into one app. They were criticised all the time by people (not Xperia users) for having separate apps, even if as a videographer or photographer it made more sense to have those dedicated apps with more intuitive controls and functions. What’s even more mind-blowing is the fact there isn’t the full suite of video controls at launch. Sony says there will be an update to the app alongside Android 15 to add in all of this missing functionality, but how can that be an acceptable compromise? Xperia has head a heavy focus on video and its pro tools. Are users who rely on said tools supposed to accept that they won’t have them for around three to four months after launch? Remember the new bokeh mode that was supposed to be added to the Xperia 1 V last year in the Android 14 update that never came? How can they be trusted to do as they say they will? It’s an astounding home goal of a move.

Aside from the fact that things don’t tend to work out when companies try a change like this, I really don’t think Sony are in a position anymore to even contemplate such a move. As soon as you disregard the hardcore fanbase you built over five years with a hyper focused vision for something that tries to cater to the general users, who by the way will not be buying your product anyway, you end up in a metaphorical no man’s land. You’re effectively sounding the death knell of the brand.

I am still going to be picking up the Xperia 1 VI on June 6th. I’m sure it will be a good device. Is it going to do enough to stop me going to an alternative that offers much better camera hardware, considering Sony hasn’t upgraded the components to any real degree from last year? I don’t know. There’s a good chance I move over to a Xiaomi 14 Ultra or maybe even a Galaxy God help me.

I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

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