Sony’s new phone can take a soaking

Sony’s launched a new smartphone, the Xperia Z, that it says can be dunked in the bath for half an hour or more without experiencing any ill effects.

It is based on a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and also has a five-inch 1080 x 1929 HD display and 13-megapixel camera, and – thenks to Sony’s Bravia TV division – can record high dynamic range (HDR) video.

It’s compatible with 4G LTE, and an NFC chip allows ot to stream content to Sony TVs when it’s tapped against the remote control. Similarly, when it’s used to play music, tapping it on a Sony speaker switches the song to that instead.

“With Xperia Z, we are bringing over half a century of innovation in TV, imaging, music, film and gaming to create a superphone experience that truly stands out,” says Kuni Suzuki, president and CEO of Sony Mobile Communications.

“With great specifications, Sony’s media applications, One-touch functions and outstanding battery life, Xperia Z is well positioned for leadership in the  smartphone market.”

The phone’s apparently perfectly waterproof at depths of up to 3.3 feet for 30 minutes at a time. While the company suggests this might enable people to make calls in the shower, there’s a more plausible reason for buying it – one in ten people is estimated to have dropped their phone down the toilet at some time or other.

The company’s also announced a smaller version of the phone, the Xperia ZL, that will be available only in certain, unspecified countries – and which doesn’t share its big brother’s water-resistance.

The Xperia Z will start shipping in the first quarter of this year, running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean – although this will be updated to 4.2 soon after launch. There’s no word yet on price.