Softbank and Sprint To Offer First Sony Experia Smartphones In U.S.

It's a good thing for Sony that its PlayStation 4 console is such a success, because in the land of mobile, especially smartphones, sales aren't anywhere as easy to come by. That's true of most companies not named Apple or Samsung, though it's particularly disappointing for Sony, one of the better known brands in electronics. Sony's strategy to turn things around in the smartphone business is to team up with Sprint and its Japan-based parent company SoftBank.

For the first time, Sprint will add a Sony brand smartphone to its catalog of devices. That smartphone is expected to be the Xperia Z3, Sony's next flagship handset, which will likely launch at next week's IFA tech expo in Berlin. The goal for all parties involved is to make the Xperia Z3 available to consumers in time for the holiday shopping season, though not everyone thinks the strategy will pay off.

Sony Xperia Z2
Sony's Xperia Z3 will replace the Z2 (shown above) as the company's flagship handset.

"I can't see this making much of a difference," Deutsche Bank analyst Yasuo Nakane told Reuters. "Even if they put out a phone on Sprint, Verizon is the priority any way you think about about it."

Sprint is currently the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S. Just weeks ago, it seemed as though Sprint would acquire T-Mobile, the nation's fourth largest carrier, but that deal fell through and now the two companies find themselves involved in a data cap war masquerading as a price war (both are offering better data deals, though not necessarily lower prices).

Both Sony and Sprint are in need of a shot in the arm. One of the challenges they'll face in this team effort to promote the Xperia Z3 is that Apple is getting ready to launch its iPhone 6. Demand always runs high for new iPhone launches, even when the specs are outclassed by competitors in the Android camp.

As to the Xperia Z3, it's rumored to feature a 5.2-inch Full HD 1080p display, 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, 20.7MP rear-facing camera, 16GB of internal storage, microSD card slot, and Android 4.4 KitKat.