As we approach the end of 2013 we enter a rare period for companies like us, a few days where it’s equally appropriate to look back as it is to keep our focus on the future, and from our perspective, 2013 has been an incredible year.
We began with the announcement of Xperia Z at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show. It was a product that would set the tone for months to come and from a design perspective it was revolutionary. The water resistance design feature resonated with both the media and customers in a way that even we had not anticipated and before long all sorts of crazy videos were circulating the internet showing exactly what you could do with a water resistant smartphone. Equally importantly, Xperia Z represented our first words spoken in a new design language that would go on to underpin all our 2013 phones. Our OmniBalance design is, and will remain, a key element of what makes our products special.
Towards the end of January we announced Xperia Tablet Z in Japan and by Mobile World Congress in Barcelona we were able to confirm a global roll out. There’s no doubt, Xperia Tablet Z is the best tablet we’ve ever built, but EISA (European Imaging and Sound Association) went one further and gave it their tablet of the year award.
In May we built out our Xperia range with Xperia ZR, a smartphone designed to bring signature Sony experiences to a wider audience at a more affordable price point. Building on the strength of reaction to Xperia Z’s water resistance, Xperia ZR was our first IP58 smartphone and once again the message coming back from consumers was clear. They loved being able to text in the rain and listen to music by the pool, safe in the knowledge that they weren’t risking damage to their smartphone.
As summer broke we announced Xperia Z Ultra at Shanghai’s Mobile Asia Expo, our first foray into the super large smartphone segment, and another great success. It was the slimmest, lightest phone of its kind and, with amazing advances in technology like the ability for users to use any pencil as a stylus, it was an enormous achievement, a fact which clearly wasn’t lost on Google, with whom we launched a Google Play Edition in December.
We spent most of the summer bringing these products to market and gearing up for our last major smartphone announcement of the year. In September we launched Xperia Z1. Where Xperia Z was a revolution in design, Z1 was a revolution in technology. Through our work with Sony’s camera experts, we were able to create a camera phone that truly blurs the lines between mobile phones and compact cameras, whilst at the same time, new technologies in processors, screens, audio and media integration all came together to produce a smartphone that is simply brilliant. It is our strongest selling smartphone to date and will continue as our flagship into 2014.
2013 was also the year that saw the mainstream acknowledgment that the smart wearables category was beginning to represent a serious opportunity. This may not have been news to us, (we’ve been producing smart watches since 2007) but it was certainly welcome. Our second generation SmartWatch 2 has exceeded our expectations in terms of sales and has been praised by media for the way it solves actual consumer problems. This is all thanks to feedback from you, and we are grateful for it. We are leaders in this space and there will be a lot to talk about in 2014.
Which brings me onto the whole point of this post, which is to say thank you. More than 8 million of you visited this blog during 2013 and countless others have been engaging with us through social media and in our customer forums. You make our products what they are, through your feedback, your engagement with us as a brand, and with our products. We’re listening, we take you seriously, and we are grateful.
2014 is going to be an incredible year, we’ve got some truly exciting products coming up, new form factors to explore and more from our wearables team, so stay tuned and keep talking to us.