Tech Drivers
Tech Drivers

Sony unveils a near-$900 smartphone that hooks up to a PS4 controller for 'Fortnite' on the go

Key Points
  • The Sony Xperia 5 is a smaller version of last year's Xperia 1, coming with a 6.1-inch display.
  • Users will be able to connect the Xperia 5 with a PlayStation DualShock 4 wireless controller.
  • It will be available in four colors — black, white, blue and magenta — and starts shipping in October.
Sony's Xperia 5 smartphone, which features support for its wireless Dual Shock 4 controller.

Sony revealed its new smartphone on Thursday, the Xperia 5, which works with a wireless PlayStation controller for mobile gaming.

The Japanese tech giant's new device is a compact version of last year's Xperia 1, and comes with the same 21:9 aspect ratio screen used for watching movies. It has a 6.1-inch display, whereas the Xperia 1 came with a 6.5-inch panel.

Sony's Senior Executive Vice President Shigeki Ishizuka explained at a press conference in Berlin that users would be able to connect the Xperia 5 with a PlayStation DualShock 4 wireless controller.

Ishizuka added that the phone would work with Epic Games' popular battle royale game "Fortnite." "We are excited to see the growing trend of esports evolving to the mobile space," he said, adding that controller support would also be added to the Xperia 1.

The company said last year that it was working with Fortnite's developer and other firms to offer video game experiences in the 21:9 aspect ratio.

Sony has previously offered DualShock compatibility with its Xperia phones, but not for the Xperia 1. Sony said wireless controller support would be added to that device through a software update.

The new phone will be available in four colors — black, white, blue and magenta — and will be available in Europe in October. A spokesperson told CNBC the phone will cost £699 ($863), making it cheaper than its predecessor.

Smartphone manufacturers have struggled to find ways of luring consumers into buying their new releases, as the broader market stalls and people have been shown to hold onto their phones for longer. One area where the industry is trying to innovate is in folding displays, with the likes of Samsung and Huawei looking to roll out foldable phones.

Samsung on Thursday said its folding device, the Galaxy Fold, will start shipping in South Korea on September 6. The firm, which had initially aimed for an April launch date, hit a snag with that timing after reviewers pointed out issues with the product.

While companies like Samsung and Huawei are looking to supersize their phones with massive foldable displays, Sony appears to be going in the opposite direction, downsizing a previous release which it says fits in the palm of a user's hand.

While Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida has in the past said he sees the company's smartphone business as "necessary" for its hardware brand, the mobile unit has been eclipsed in market share by the likes of Samsung and Apple. The firm also faces the challenge of Chinese manufacturers like Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo, which have gained success selling cheaper devices.

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