The Sony Xperia Z Ultra Wi-Fi: the smartphone of the future?

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra Wi-Fi: the smartphone of the future?

Taking a 7in 3G tablet and adding a voice calling utility seems a bit of a no-brainer to me: if you're interested it's there, if you think it's daft, you don't have to use it.

But here's a question: what about taking a large phablet and taking away the voice calling to effectively make it a small Wi-Fi-only tablet? Witness the Sony Xperia Z Ultra Wi-Fi.

Turns out the rumours of a month ago were correct, then: Sony has taken the Xperia Z Ultra phablet and announced a version with the mobile radio surgically removed.

It's a Japan-only release for now, but with MWC 2014 less than five weeks away we'd wager the full contents of Mobot's non-existent treasury that it'll be present at Sony's stand.

It retains the existing version's basic specs: that's a 6.4in 1080p display, 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage, plus an 8MP/2MP camera pair and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. And Wi-Fi but no 3G, obviously.

But with voice and video calling over Wi-Fi growing ever more popular, and Wi-Fi itself becoming increasingly accessible and affordable when you're out and about (at least in major centres, anyway), is the lack of 3G such a major obstacle?

It probably is enough of one for now that the existence of the Xperia Z Ultra Wi-Fi will seem like a pointless exercise to most people. If Sony's interested in small tablets, why not just release a 7in version of the Xperia Tablet Z?

But it's not its credentials as a tablet that makes the Xperia Z Ultra Wi-Fi interesting, it's the idea of a radio-less phone. Surely we are going to reach a point fairly soon where it'll be possible – again, realistically only in urban centres – to buy a phone and get by without using a SIM at all.

The downside is you'll have to fork out for the device in full up front, which should keep the networks in business for plenty of years to come with their free-phone-on-contract deals.

But the prospect is there all the same, and mobile radio-free smartphones like the Sony Xperia Z Ultra Wi-Fi could be a more common sight in the months and years to come.

There's been no confirmation yet that it'll be sighted at all on UK shores at this stage, though, but again with MWC 2014 just round the corner there's every chance that'll change before long.

Via Engadget

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