Sony fights back with mid range M4 Aqua, Z4 Tablet

Cape Town - Sony has upped the smartphone ante at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona with a new midrange smartphone and super thin tablet.

The company launched the Xperia M4 Aqua smartphone and Z4 Tablet at the gadget show in Spain.

While the M4 Aqua is marketed as a mid-range device, it comes with waterproofing (IP65/8 rated), 13 megapixel camera and supports higher speed LTE (long-term evolution) mobile networks.

The device also has a speedy octa-core 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor unit and Sony claims a two-day battery life, similar to its premium Z3 and Z3 Compact.

Though the mobile division has been hit by slow sales compared to Samsung and LG, Sony was bullish about the new smartphone's position in the market.

Online Sony content

"Offering the most popular standout features made famous by our Xperia Z Series - camera capability, two-day battery life and waterproofing - Xperia M4 Aqua brings a proposition and price products in this section of the market simply cannot match," said Dennis van Schie, senior vice-president and head of sales and marketing at Sony Mobile Communications.

The M4 Aqua will likely compete with devices like the Samsung Galaxy A series, Huawei Mate and Acer Liquid series as consumers increasingly opt for well-specced, but lower priced smartphones.

Sony also launched its Tablet Z4 to directly compete with Apple iPad 2.

Pricing will be a key challenge for Sony's Z4 Tablet which is marketed as a gaming and working device. (Sony)

The 25cm (10 inch) Sony tablet builds on the previous Z2 tablet, with an IP68 waterproofing standard but weighing just 389g, lighter than the Apple device at 437g.

The tablet is also powered by an octa core processor and has a thickness profile of 6.1mm, but still manages to sport a 6 000mAH battery which Sony says should last at least two days.

In addition, the Sony tablet is equipped with PS4 Remote Play3, which enables seamless gaming between the latest PlayStation and the tablet.

Remote Play is also a feature on the Xperia Z3 range of smartphones and tablet. The Z4 Tablet also features printer and projector outputs as Sony hopes it will become a laptop replacement.

Local pricing a key challenge

Consumers who purchase the tablet will also have access to Sony content on the Xperia Lounge Gold entertainment network, but details specific to South Africa are vague at this stage.

Local pricing will be a key challenge for Sony as the company looks to stave off fallout from having lost 1 000 employees due, in part, to lacklustre sales of its devices.

Sony announced that both devices will likely appear on South African shelves by June 2015, and the M4 with dual SIM is also expected to be rolled out in the country.

Watch this promotional video for the Sony Z4 Tablet:

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