In context: It's no secret that Sony's mobile division has been having a tough time (for many years now) selling its Xperia phones, despite a loyal fanbase. The company usually tests that loyalty by pricing its phones at the expensive side of the medium- and high-end mobile segments. Although the device quality is usually top-notch, consumers just don't seem interested in Sony's offerings given the lackluster efforts in marketing and standout features in the super-competitive smartphone industry. With Amazon now selling a variant with Alexa on-board, the company is trying to attract consumers who're deep into Amazon's ecosystem.
In terms of things going for the Xperia 1, there's the 6.5-inch 21:9 CinemaWide 4K HDR OLED screen, a triple camera setup with Sony's EYE AF technology, 128GB with expandable storage and a Cinema Pro app for creators, but a $950 price tag, lack of wireless charging, average battery life and an occasional laggy camera app have made it tough for Sony to sell it in the quantity that the company had initially expected.
There's also the frequent 6-month release window of its flagships, instead of yearly models put out by the likes of Apple or Samsung that also makes it harder to justify buying an expensive soon-to-be-outdated Sony flagship.
During its pre-order window, Sony also threw in its excellent $350 WH-1000XM3 noise-cancelling headphones (offer expired on July 12) to jump-start sales for the Xperia 1, and now Amazon is selling the $950 flagship with Alexa built-in with a $100 discount until August 26.
"Simply say “Alexa” or double press the power button to play music, hear the news or check the weather wherever you are. Just ask - and Alexa will respond instantly," allowing Xperia 1 owners hands-free and convenient access to Amazon Alexa and her skills.
The new offer is seen by many as Sony's move to entice customers who're fans of Amazon's ecosystem as the phone not only comes with Alexa but also other pre-installed apps like Amazon Shopping, Amazon Music and Audible. "Bloatware" is not usually associated with Sony phones yet here we are and anyone interested in buying this variant of the phone probably expects that too.