If you were looking forward to seeing Sony announce its long-rumoured 5G Xperia phone at MWC this February, prepare to be sorely disappointed because that handset looks to be a long way off being ready to unveil.
- MWC 2019: what to expect from the biggest phone show of the year
- Top 5G phones: every handset to expect in 2019
"5G is a challenge," Don Mesa, Sony Mobile’s Vice President of Marketing, admitted to Digital Trends in an interview this week, adding: "Some people may be holding off buying a new device because they’re waiting for it. But we don’t want to rush and put the cart before the horse – the experience has to be good."
That statement will no doubt put a smile on faces on Samsung Mobile, which has been talking up 5G big time. At CES this January, the South Korean firm stated that it was "the first company to receive FCC approval on our commercial 5G equipment" and that 2019 would herald its first 5G smartphone, which is most likely to be a 5G variant of the Galaxy S10. And that particular handset could be unveiled as soon as the coming Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event set to take place on 20 February.
Huawei is also in the race to be the first to release a 5G smartphone, a race that Sony now appears to have conceded.
There's more bad news for Xperia fans, especially those who like high-quality, compact Android smartphones: it doesn't look like we'll be seeing an Xperia Compact XZ4 at MWC this year, either.
In fact, if you take Mesa's words at face value, it sounds as though Sony is canning its Compact line altogether.
"We stuck with Compact for a very long time, because of the ease of use," said Mesa. "There’s always room for different sizes, but people want a lot more surface area for their content now."
That's a shame as we really liked the Xperia XZ2 Compact, and we're pretty sure that not everyone wants a massive slab of a smartphone.
This move looks to be part of a wider change at Sony Mobile which, it's fair to say, has been struggling lately. As a result Sony needs to make some big changes, and axing the Xperia Compact line seems to be just one.
Another of those changes is that Sony Mobile has a new Head of Development. Kimio Maki comes from Sony's camera division, so that gives you one idea of where Sony sees its future success coming from. "We’re hoping to deliver a much better camera experience," Mesa explained.
Sony will be launching handsets at MWC 2019 this February, confirmed Mesa. "We are going to be announcing products at MWC. What we present there will be a first step showing the direction we are going," he said.
If Sony won't be showing off its first 5G phone, or a new Xperia Compact at MWC, what can we expect from the show? A triple-camera Sony Xperia XZ4 seems most likely. That's something which we'd certainly like to see, and which the beleaguered Japanese manufacturer will no doubt be praying gets a positive reception.