Verizon scraps its exclusive Sony phone before it even launches

The carrier's decision not to introduce the Xperia Z4v is a big blow to Sony, which has struggled to break into the US market with its smartphones.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
Expertise Mobile, 5G, Big Tech, Social Media Credentials
  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng
2 min read

The Xperia Z4v was supposed to be Sony's flagship smartphone for the US market. Sony

The Sony Xperia Z4v phone never even had a chance to fail.

Sony and Verizon Wireless said on Monday that they had decided to not introduce the Xperia Z4v into the US market.

The surprise move deals a big blow to Sony's ambitions to establish a larger foothold in the US market. Support from Verizon, the nation's largest wireless carrier, coupled with Sony's focus on gaming and its ability to connect with the company's PlayStation 4 console, was supposed to help raise the Japanese electronics conglomerate's profile with US consumers. Despite the success of its PlayStation console for gamers, few consumers even know Sony makes smartphones.

Sony said both companies agreed on the cancellation. "The decision was made after we have taken into consideration such factors as the competitive landscape and launch timing," said a company spokeswoman. A Verizon spokesman echoed those sentiments without offering additional specific details.

There have been hints of problems with the Xperia Z4v, which was a modified version of the Xperia Z4 that added a larger battery and wireless charging. After its initial unveiling in June, both companies grew silent about the product. A Sony event held in New York over the summer was dominated by games from PlayStation, its virtual reality system, and other products like cameras, with only a single small area dedicated to showing off the Xperia Z4v.

Then there is the Xperia Z5 family, which debuted at the IFA trade show in September. The announcement of the three new phones rendered the Xperia Z4v outdated before it even launched.

Sony has long struggled to work with the US carriers. It previously had a strong relationship with T-Mobile, but essentially dropped the carrier to focus on developing an exclusive smartphone, the Xperia Z3v, for Verizon.