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CES 2013: Sony Announces Premium Waterproof Xperia Z

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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Homeland, in full HD, underwater. Enough said.

On the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Sony uncloaked a waterproof Android-based smartphone – the Xperia Z.

Previously known as Xperia Yuga, the five-inch device comes with Sony’s first ever full HD smartphone screen, 13 megapixel camera and 4G LTE support, all in a lightweight but durable package.

The most unusual attribute of the phone is the fact that it is capable of spending up to 30 minutes underwater. Sony claims that Xperia Z has the highest levels of dust and water resistance found in any premium handset.

It is expected to appear in the UK in March 2013.

Bath time

Xperia Z is just 0.3 inches thick, but features a full HD (1080p x 1920) screen built on Sony’s Bravia TV technology, with 443 pixel-per-inch density that leaves Apple’s Retina displays in the dust.

It is powered by a 1.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chip, supported by 2GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory, with a microSD memory card slot to expand it further.

Sony has adapted its Exmor RS sensor technology for smartphones, endowing Xperia Z with a camera that is ready to shoot in under a second and can record High Dynamic Range (HDR) video, producing better results in difficult lighting conditions.

The smartphone also features the STAMINA mode, which, according to Sony, is capable of extending battery life at least four times, and comes with a Near-Field Communication (NFC) chip to enable contactless payments and other useful features.

Xperia Z will ship with the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system out of the box, but will be upgraded to Android 4.2 shortly after launch.

In the UK, waterproof smartphones are generally lumped together under the “rugged” tag. However, in Japan, waterproof electronics have long been popular, and being bath-friendly is considered a standard feature for smartphones.

Phone operators Three and Vodafone have already confirmed they will offer the new smartphone in the UK, and Phones 4U has even announced the expected launch date – 1 March.

Sony recently passed HTC as the third most popular smartphone manufacturer in the UK. The company started making mobile phones under its own brand in 2011, after the acquisition of Ericsson’s share in the Sony-Ericsson joint-venture.

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