NEW YORK -- Sony has unveiled a waterproof smartphone that sports a 21 megapixel camera and expands what users can do with it underwater.
Sony Corp. said the new Xperia Z1s can be submerged as much as 4.5 feet deep for up to 30 minutes, compared with just 3 feet for last summer's Xperia Z. The Z was water resistant rather than waterproof.
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Another limitation with the Z was an inability to snap shots underwater. It was possible to start a video and jump in a pool, but the touch-screen controls made it impossible to take photos or start video when wet. The Z1s has a physical button that can trigger underwater shots.
Meanwhile, the resolution of the camera has increased to 20.7 megapixels, from 13 megapixels in the Z.
Ravi Nookala, president of Sony Mobile Communications' U.S. division, said the phone is ideal for "active users who take a lot of pictures and who go outside to the pool or in the rain."
The new phone is also packed with a variety of camera-related apps that let you:
-- Get more information by taking a photo of a book, wine bottle or a landmark such as the Eiffel Tower.
-- Snap 61 shots in two seconds. You then pick the ones with the right smiles and expressions.
-- Broadcast video of weddings and other events in real time. Links are shared through Facebook.
With a companion app for Sony's PlayStation game console, players will be able to buy new games for automatic download and watch footage of their friends' game play.
The Z1s is based on Sony's Xperia Z1 phone, whose distribution has been largely limited to overseas markets. Both models along with last summer's Z have screens measuring 5 inches diagonally.
The phone will cost $528 through T-Mobile, paid through 24 monthly installments of $22. It's a departure from a recent trend of making phones available through multiple carriers. Online orders will begin on Jan. 13, with availability in stores to start on Jan. 22.
T-Mobile's senior vice president for marketing, Jason Young, said the PlayStation companion app will appeal to T-Mobile's customer base, which he said is younger than rivals'.