Sony, which has fallen behind in the rapidly expanding global smartphone market, on Thursday announced a new flagship smartphone called Xperia Z3v, which has the ability to stream PlayStation 4 games. The new handset will be available in the U.S. at Verizon Wireless stores starting Oct. 23.
The new Xperia Z3v features a 5.2-inch display and a waterproof body. The device, powered by a Snapdragon 801 processor, also allows users to access PlayStation 4 games remotely if they own the console. The launch of the new handset is being viewed as Sony’s attempt to revive its struggling smartphone division with the help of its booming PlayStation business.
“We know the challenges of building up our business,” Bloomberg quoted Kunimasa Suzuki, chief of Sony’s mobile division. “The U.S. is one of the most exciting smartphone markets in the world and of course one of the toughest.”
According to Sony, the Xperia Z3v, which features a 20.7-megapixel rear camera, will be priced at $199.99 with a two-year contract with Verizon.
Running on Android 4.4 KitKat, the smartphone will support 4G LTE connectivity while sipping power from a 3200mAh battery. The device will sport 32 GB internal storage and will support a microSD card with up to 128 GB of storage.
Sony’s flagging mobile phone division led it to record a 180 billion yen ($1.7 billion) impairment charge this year, and the company had to reduce staff strength, and cancel dividends for the first time in its history, Bloomberg reported, adding that the Japanese conglomerate’s smartphones currently account for a 3.1 percent share of the global smartphone market.
Sony has been reportedly lagging rivals such as Apple and Samsung, and Chinese players like Xiaomi, because it lacks partnerships with carriers in the crucial U.S. and Chinese markets.
“For now, rather than chasing market share or unit sales we will identify the market risks and emphasize profitability,” Sony’s CEO Kazuo Hirai told Reuters, adding that the company will now focus more on regions with better growth prospects.