Sony announces new Xperia phones with variable telephoto lenses


Sony is announcing two new phones, the Xperia 1 III and the Xperia 5 III. Both are the latest in Sony’s campaign to redefine the Xperia brand as a kind of sibling to its well-regarded Alpha digital cameras. As such, the camera system is once again the main focus, and Sony specifically is touting the “world’s first smartphone with a variable telephoto lens paired with a Dual PD sensor” and improvements to its already fast and accurate autofocus system. Each phone has the basic specs you’d expect on a top-flight Android phone: three cameras on the rear, a Snapdragon 888 processor, and support for 5G. Actually, the 5G support is worth noting because these Xperia phones will be able to work on 5G networks in the US. The phone also keeps the Xperia design language Sony landed on with the original Xperia 1. They’re tall and narrow, with lots of glossy black and small curves on all the angles, giving them the most monolithic look of a smartphone today. In order to establish Xperia, Sony has also been pushing a lot of other nice specs that are relatively hard to come by on other Android phones. The Xperia 1 III has a 4K OLED screen that now supports a fast (though locked) 120Hz refresh rate.

TCL’s Fold n Roll concept will transform a phone into a 10-inch tablet

TCL is once again teasing a foldable phone concept – and it’s a Frankenstein’s monster of some previously showcased flexible concepts. Called Fold n Roll, it combines the company’s “dragonhinge” technology with an extendable display panel. The result is a 6.87-inch phone that can expand to an 8.85-inch phablet size or fully extend to a 10-inch tablet. The company isn’t offering any other detailed information. TCL says it’s “still exploring the technical specifications” of this type of device, which doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that the Fold n Roll will hit the market anytime soon. But TCL did say it plans to launch some kind of foldable phone before the end of 2021. The company has offered no shortage of foldable display concepts; most recently, it had several to show off at this year’s virtual CES. Flexing, rolling phones are mostly reserved for the high end of the market right now, and TCL may be well-positioned to offer a less costly option. Samsung has hinted at a lower-cost flexible device coming soon. LG’s rollable concept may have been destined for a flagship device, but with the manufacturer’s exit from the smartphone business, we’ll never know if that tech might have trickled down to a midrange device. If it is TCL’s intention to offer something more affordable in the space, then there’s certainly some room to jump in.