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Sony Unveils Waterproof Large-Screened Smartphone

Sony has unveiled a waterproof smartphone that boasts a 6.4-inch screen. The Japanese firm claims the Xperia Z Ultra is the slimmest large-screened handset in the market.

The device can also accept notes and sketches using a pencil or a metal-tipped pen in addition to an optional stylus, according the BBC.

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Sony allowed the media a firsthand look at the handset during the Mobile Expo Show held recently in Shanghai. The Ultra is a follow up to Sony’s original Xperia Z, a smartphone with a 5-inch screen which the company had unveiled last January.

The firm says it is positioning the Ultra to challenge Samsung’s dominance in the large-screened smartphone sector. Samsung accounted for some 70 percent of the overall superphone and phablet market in 2012, thanks mainly to the popularity of the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2. “Southeast Asia is the key market for the product because the trend towards large-screened smartphones is stronger there,” said Caloum MacDougall, Sony’s director for Xperia marketing. “But we also see the trend in Europe, as well.”

The Ultra goes on sale in China, Indonesia and Singapore in July and August. Sony intends to begin shipping the device to retailers in Europe in September.

Positioned for a growing market

The International Data Corporation (IDC) expects a considerable increase in the market for large-screened smartphones over the next few years, especially in China.

The market research firm believes the devices will account for 20 percent of the Chinese smartphone market by the end of this year alone.

Around 7.5 percent of the smartphones sold in China during the first quarter touted screens that were five inches or larger.

The BBC meanwhile notes that several companies have launched large-screened smartphones over the past few months. Huawei has unveiled the 6.1-inch Ascend Mate; ZTE has the 5.7-inch Grand Memo; Acer has the 5.7-inch Liquid S1; Asus the 6-inch FonePad Note; and Lenovo has the 5.5-inch Ideaphone K900.

There are rumors that both Samsung and HTC will likewise be introducing large-screened variants to their flagship models later this year. For Samsung, it will be the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. In the case of HTC, it will be the HTC One Max.

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The Ultra’s premium features

MacDougall said Sony will not try to match the prices of large-screened handsets that are manufactured in Taiwan or China. Instead, the firm will compete for a chunk of the market by promoting the Xperia Z Ultra’s features. “In the large screen segment at the moment, most consumers are looking at the Galaxy Note,” said MacDougall. “Now we can offer something that is really distinct: a stronger screen, greater portability, waterproofing and something different around the stylus and the pen.”

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is 6.5 millimeters thick. Unlike its predecessor, the Xperia Z, the new phone does not require a flap over its headphone socket to protect against water damage. The device can be submerged in 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to half an hour. You can take full HD videos under water with its 8 megapixel camera.

The Ultra is powered by a 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor. The device ships with 16 gigabytes of internal storage, but can support a 64GB microSD card.

Touting a 1080p resolution screen, the phone comes with software to upscale lower definition photos and video. The Ultra’s battery also offers up to 11 hours talk time or 120 hours of audio playback.

If you are worried about quick tasks on such a big device, you can get an optional bluetooth add-on which can be paired with the handset using near field communication (NFC). You can use the handy add-on to send an internet fax, make calls or view text messages and streaming videos.

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Michael H. Morgan is a copywriter and editor who enjoys the challenges of creativity and attention to details. He writes about a wide variety of topics of interest in the field of business, social media, technology and current trends in the industry and creates only original content. He also writes about telecommunications and lately concentrates on soft phone.

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