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article imageSony's Xperia Z6 may be five different phones, ready from January

By James Walker     Dec 6, 2015 in Technology
Sony is famed in the smartphone world for its regular release cadences, sometimes launching a new flagship barely six months after the previous version. A new report out of China suggests it is now gearing up for 2016, creating a device in five sizes.
Sony usually releases a compact version of its flagship "Xperia Z" device. This year it went one further with the Z5, Z5 Premium and Z5 Compact. In 2016, it could release a dizzying five different models, if a rumour on Chinese social network Weibo is correct.
The company's Xperia Z6 range is said to include the 4.0-inch Z6 Mini, 4.6-inch Z6 Compact, 5.2-inch Z6, 5.8-inch Z6 Plus and 6.4-inch Z6 Ultra. There's currently no indication whether other hardware details will change between the models but it's logical to assume the larger devices will be more powerful than the smaller ones.
The rumour claims Sony is developing its own version of Apple's pressure-sensing 3D Touch display technology. Details are also scant here so it's unknown how many levels of pressure Sony's solution will be able to detect or which of the five devices will include the new panel.
Versions of 3D Touch are expected to appear on many Android handsets next year. In October, Synaptics unveiled a new touchscreen controller that supports pressure-sensing displays. The company hopes to see it used by "industry-leading" smartphone OEMs in 2016.
SlashGear notes Sony will be hosting its big CES event on January 5. It has sent out invitations that hint at a new smartphone, suggesting the Z6 family could be initially revealed in under a month. The company only released the Z5 line-up back in September, becoming the first manufacturer to launch a 4K smartphone in the process.
Without any more details it's hard to speculate on what other hardware Sony is planning for the Z6. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 processor seems likely, as does the return of the 4K display from the Z5 Premium. Sony's flagship phones always boast highly-competent cameras, using its own renowned image sensors, so that's another feature we can be confident of.
Sony's mobile operations are regularly confusing. No other manufacturer iterates so quickly yet the company still has a comparatively small following. Why it requires five different models of its 2016 flagship remains puzzling. It should be noted that Sony has yet to make anything official and that even if all the variants exist they could be launched individually throughout the year.
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