Sony launched a series of new smartphones Monday, offering movie theater-style screens and cinema-quality features, hoping to attract video creators and movie buffs to boost its mobile unit.
The new smartphones, the Xperia 10, 10 Plus and Xperia 1, are equipped with a 21:9 aspect ratio screen, allowing users to watch videos in the same format similar to a movie theater, according to Sony. Other companies such as Apple or Samsung, typically come with 16:9 or 18:9 aspect ratio. While a 21:9 device would allow for films without any black bars present, CNBC reports that most non-cinema content won’t be readily available in the format.
Revealed at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the premium Xperia 1 measures 6.5 inches tall, becoming one of the taller smartphones on the market. It’s also equipped with 4K HDR OLED screens and a triple-lens camera system. Pricing for the Xperia 1 begins at $1,043.
Sony’s larger screens are its latest attempt at luring in an audience focused on producing and editing more videos on mobile phones. Research firm e-Marketer estimated last year that 78 percent of worldwide video viewing is on mobile. The company struggled to keep pace with competition from Apple and Samsung in the premium smartphone market, in addition to Chinese players like Huawei, OnePlus and Oppo.
“Sony has been relegated to niche player,” said Neil Shah, partner and research director at Counterpoint. According to Counterpoint Research, it’s estimated that Sony’s market share fell from 0.9 percent of total smartphone shipments in 2017 to 0.5 percent in 2018.
Sony reports that brands including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube are increasingly providing content in 21:9, in addition to its Sony Picture films. The company is also said to be working with the makers of “Fortnite” and other firms to offer video gaming experiences in the new format.