Sony Xperia comeback will launch fresh assault on Samsung Galaxy S21

Code leak reveals how new Sony Xperia handset intends to take down the Samsung Galaxy S21

Sony Xperia 10 III Samsung Galaxy S21
(Image credit: Sony)

When Sony released the Xperia 10 II earlier this year, it didn’t include a Plus model as it had with the original Xperia 10. The rumor at the time was that this was because the company had decided to switch chips and opt for something that supported 5G without adding too much to the price.

Now it seems like the wait is over. Nodar Sikharulidze (opens in new tab) tweeted a section of code that seems to indicate that a device featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 SoC is on the way – that’s the SM6350 referenced below, if you want to trace the steps.

Notably, the Snapdragon 690 is a chip that can connect to sub-6GHz 5G – though not mmWave. Even without access to bandwidths above 24GHz, that means you can still expect far faster download speeds with the Xperia 10 III than its predecessor, assuming you’re in an area with 5G signal.

And it also means that Samsung Galaxy S21 range now seems to have just got, potentially, a very potent new foe (or foes). If Sony's new Xperia phones offer 5G and strong mid-range specs, then they will no-doubt look very attractive to upgraders next year – and especially so if that incoming S21 price hike rumor is true.

Sikharulidze’s tweet mentions another phone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 875 chipset powering things, too. Although it’s hard to imagine that SoC being destined for anything other than Sony’s flagship Xperia 1 III.

That’s what Sikharulidze seems to be suggesting, anyway, and he told GSMArena (opens in new tab) that said flagship will likely have four cameras. He also added that Sony is working on a third phone with a Helio P35 chip – which we’d imagine is the latest in the Xperia L series, the L5.

When will we get a look at all three phones? Well, with the usual caveats that the ongoing pandemic has disrupted technology roadmaps, if past form is anything to go by, then February 2021 would be a sound bet. February 2020 was when the Xperia 1 II, 10 II and L4 were all unveiled, after all.

A launch at that time would also set up the Samsung Galaxy S21 range showdown perfectly, as it is usually in February that the South Korean phone maker first shows off its new offering.

That said, you’d imagine that launch window was influenced by Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress, which typically takes place in February. Next year, however, it's been pushed back to June (opens in new tab), so that could well have a knock-on effect to suppliers’ release plans – including Sony. We shall have to wait and see.