By Alexandra Burlacu | Apr 10, 2013 09:09 AM EDT
The Sony Xperia ZL will finally hit the U.S. as a subsidized smartphone, which means it costs less for those willing to commit to a contract.
As it turns out, the one carrier willing to sell the Xperia ZL in an on-contract variant is not AT&T, Sprint or Verizon, as many expected. It's Cincinnati Bell, the tiny regional network that covers Cincinnati and its nearby suburbs in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
The Sony Xperia Z and Xperia ZL are two of the most impressive smartphones to debut in early 2013, but Sony's relationships with North American wireless service providers seem to limit their potential. The Xperia Z is only available in the U.S. in SIM-free, "international" versions, while the ZL is available from Sony unsubsidized.
The Sony Xperia Z already went up for pre-order in the U.S. for unlocked versions of the handset, but now Cincinnati Bell announced it will be carrying the device in the future, allowing its customers to get the handset on contract, subsidized.
Cincinnati Bell customers will be able to grab a Sony Xperia ZL starting on May 1. The handset will sport a $249.99 price tag on a two-year contract after a mail-in rebate. The unlocked version from Sony, meanwhile, costs $759.99.
The device will become available around the same time the new Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One smartphones will make their U.S. debut, so the Sony Xperia ZL has some big rivals to challenge.
"We're excited to add the Sony Xperia ZL to our line of premium smartphones. With this extraordinary device, customers can connect with each other using the best technology Sony has to offer," touts Mike Vanderwoude, Consumer Markets senior vice president/ general manager. "The Xperia ZL on Cincinnati Bell's 4G wireless network creates an unbeatable combination."
For those unfamiliar with the device, the Sony Xperia ZL sports a 5-inch Full HD display, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 processor clocked at 1.5GHz and 2GB of RAM. Other specs and features include a 13-megapixel camera and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, with a subsequent update to the latest 4.2 Jelly Bean. Compared to its Xperia Z sibling, the Sony Xperia ZL is slightly more compact and is not dust- and waterproof. It's a powerful smartphone nonetheless, part of Sony's latest efforts to seize a bigger market share.
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