The Sony Xperia Z3 has only recently arrived on shop shelves but with Sony now in a pattern of releasing two flagships a year we're surely only a matter of months away from the Sony Xperia Z4, so it's not too early to make a wish list of what we want to see.

In fact we're even starting to hear rumors about Sony's next flagship, including one report which reckons the Japanese firm will return to an annual launch of its top device, ditching the recent trend of every six months, though not until after the Z4 launches.

Updates: New rumors point to a May release and leaked images from the Sony hack give us a glimpse of what the Xperia Z4 may look like.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Sony's next flagship smartphone
  • When is it out? Likely to be on shelves in April/May but it could be announced as early as January
  • What will it cost? A lot - this will be a high-end device

News and rumors

The Xperia Z3 hasn't been out for long, but already there's chatter on the web about its successor, the Sony Xperia Z4.

In fact we could be in for something quite special as initial claims include specs which would make the Xperia Z4 the most powerful smartphone around.

A 5.5-inch QHD 1440 x 2560 display, 64-bit 2.8GHz octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, 4GB of RAM, Adreno 430 GPU, 32GB of storage and a Exmor RS CMOS sensor have all been touted for the Xperia Z4.

But more recent rumors are a little more humble. The latest we've heard still includes a QHD display, but at 5.4 inches rather than 5.5. The latest set of rumors also includes 4GB of RAM, but just a 32-bit Snapdragon 805 processor.

The camera is said to have a 20.7MP resolution, just like the Xperia Z3, but with a new sensor capable of taking in more light, along with an upgraded 4.8MP front-facing snapper.

The battery is pegged at 3420mAh, which is a slight boost over the 3100mAh Xperia Z3 and in news which should surprise absolutely no-one the Z4 will apparently run Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Xperia Z4 leak

All in all while not quite as impressive as the initial spec rumors, that would still make for a big improvement over the Xperia Z3. Oh and there's also a brief mention of the design, from the same source, saying that it will have thinner top and bottom bezels as well as more rounded corners as you can sort of see in the accompanying image.

You may not have to imagine what the Z4 may look like any more though, after images apparently taken from the email account of the Sony CEO during the major Sony hack reveals early renders of the Xperia Z4.

Sony Xperia Z4 - LEAK
It's actually the 5th generation of Xperia Z (credit: Gizmodo)

What can you expect then? Well a mirrored front and rear, the now-traditional oversized power/lock key on the right and three colour options - white, black and yellow. That's if the images are correct, of course.

Sony Xperia Z4 release date

We can also take a guess as to when the Xperia Z4 will launch. Sony announced the Xperia Z2 at MWC 2014 on February 24, so there's a fair chance that the Xperia Z4 will arrive at MWC 2015, which next year is set to happen on March 2-5.

That will put almost six months between the Xperia Z3 and the Xperia Z4, so it would make sense if Sony is sticking to two flagships a year.

But we're hearing it might be announced even earlier, as Sony has confirmed that it will be holding a press conference at CES on January 5, though it might have something other than the Xperia Z4 planned. Sony has even put out a teaser trailer, and some suggest the Z4 can be seen in the reflection of an eye.

Either way it probably won't hit stores until around April, as Sony is set to release its new Exmor RS IMX230 image sensor in April 2015 (or May if you believe an email leaked via the Sony hack) and the Xperia Z4 is likely to sport the new sensor. As for what we want to see, read on for all our thoughts.

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