The international hit Xperia Z2 may be headed to Verizon if a posted, and quickly erased, image is any indication. Take this information with a grain of salt—I certainly am—but this could be Sony's entrance into the non-GSM realm.
The image above was posted to Sony's Xperia Google+ page, and very quickly removed. Compared to the Z2 that's currently on the international market (below), we can see that not only has the Sony logo shifted to the bottom, but a Verizon logo rests squarely along the top-center of the device.
Now, whether the photo in question is a render or a real device is unknown, and frankly, I'm not fully convinced this device will make it's way over to Big Red.
Verizon, along with Sprint and a speckle of smaller carriers, rely on CDMA technology to deliver services on their networks, as opposed to GSM, which is used by AT&T, T-Mobile, and just about the rest of the world.
Sony devices have not traditionally supported CDMA networks, and looking at the specs for the Z2, that remains the case:
- UMTS HSPA+ 850 (Band V), 900 (Band VIII), 1700 (Band IV), 1900 (Band II), 2100 (Band I) MHz
- GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
- LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 20)
While Verizon has a strong LTE network, it still relies on its CDMA backbone, and that's not changing anytime soon. So did Verizon buy a GSM carrier, or did Sony install new radio hardware in its device just for Verizon? Unless they specifically manufactured devices ready for CDMA, the cost to install new radios or produce new device would be a tough sell to a boardroom.
Much like the original Nexus devices (not the Nexus 5) and the new OnePlus One, Sony sells their devices unlocked and directly on their website in the US. And like the two other devices, availability on Verizon (or any CDMA network) is non-existent (again, the Nexus 5 does come with a CDMA radio).
While "unlocked" in this sense refers to the ability to use the device on any supported GSM carrier, it can also mean an unlocked bootloader, which is a key element to installing a custom recovery. Verizon is known to have the toughest protections against not only unlocking bootloaders, but even achieving permanent root. As of the time of this posting, the bounty for obtaining a root method with the Verizon Galaxy S5 is currently just under $11,000.
So to say that Verizon will support a device that allows root and unlocked bootloaders, as well as one that ships without any of bloatware Verizon loves so very much, may be a stretch.
Sony has issued a statement on the image, but it's pretty standard fare for information that was never supposed to be released:
"A mock-up image was mistakenly posted to the Sony Mobile Google+ page. The image has since been removed and we apologize for any confusion this may have caused. For our U.S. customers eager to find out more information about the availability of Xperia Z2, we are excited to share that the device will be coming to the U.S. unlocked this summer."
There is something to be said about the fact that this image came from Sony, but it could have just as easily come from someone on their social media team. Someone that was messing around, or trying to troll the Android/Sony community—it doesn't take a Photoshop pro to embed a logo on a device.
See what I did there? Okay, okay, it's not the best picture, and is clearly 'shopped, but it took me all of 60 seconds to throw together.
We'll know for sure whether the device is available for Verizon soon enough, but you may want to reserve your excitement until we see something a little more official. In the meantime, quench your Xperia thrist by running its launcher, media apps, or it's Sketch doodling app on your current Android device.