While we're not expecting the company to give the likes of Apple or Samsung cause for concern any time soon, we're still extremely curious to see what Sony's next flagship phone - assumed to be the Sony Xperia 1 III - will bring to the table in 2021.
How much is the Sony Xperia 1 III?
2019's Xperia 1 was designed to represent something of a reset for Sony's smartphone line and despite offering some unique qualities in a crowded flagship space, it didn't offer the same mass appeal as devices like its then-competitor, the Samsung Galaxy S10.
Perhaps its most problematic trait was that it came in at a notably higher price than the like-minded rivals, clocking in at £849 when devices like the S10 cost between £150 to £200 less, without really losing any real competitive edge.
The addition of 5G, more advanced display technology and even tighter integration with Sony's Alpha camera tech pushed that pricing disparity even further, with the Xperia 1 II coming in at a sizeable £1,099.
While 5G is assumed to feature as-standard on next year's Xperia 1 III, we're hoping that the other innovations that Sony places into its next flagship don't push the price up any further - making this more of a Galaxy Note/foldable competitor from a price standpoint.
When does the Sony Xperia 1 III launch?
The last two generations of Xperia 1 were announced on 24 February of 2019 and 2020 respectively.
While other big forthcoming launches - like that of the Samsung Galaxy S21 line - look to stray a little from their regular release windows, there's little to conflict with the notion that Sony's next flagship will make its first appearance in late February next year (maybe even the 24th for the third time in a row), with the phone going on sale around five months later, in late July.
What features does the Sony Xperia 1 III have?
The Xperia 1 II is a flagship to be sure, placing focus on a superb 4K HDR 21:9 OLED display, top-tier internals and a capable (albeit finicky) trio of cameras, backed up by some impressively robust photography and videography smartphone software.
Such traits will presumably carry across to its successor - the Xperia 1 III - with enhancements to the speed of the camera system's already-impressive autofocus, even better low light shooting, an improved Auto shooting experience and the option of a higher refresh rate display, without the loss of the current offering's signature benefits i.e. its resolution (the Xperia 1 II sports a 60Hz panel).
It was assumed that the 1 III would also come powered by Qualcomm's best and brightest mobile chip of the moment and the first signs that the newly-announced Snapdragon 888 will feature in the phone look to have now been unearthed.
Sony's new flagship smartphone with Snap875 :) pic.twitter.com/1NfDhnUS0Q— Nodar Sikharulidze (@NodSikharulidze) October 20, 2020
Tweets posted by user Nodar Sikharulidze show what appears to be code pulled from various .JAR files, taken from Sony Mobile's firmware distribution server; all making mention of the 'SM8350' - the model number now tied to the Snapdragon 888.
While we can't vouch for the source's credibility, if it is real, this is the first sign of confirmed hardware and the existence of the Xperia 1 III (or at the very least a 2021 flagship phone from Sony).