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Sony teases Sept. 4 unveiling of waterproof Xperia Z1 with a super-duper camera

The new phone is rumored to have a 20-megapixel camera and pro-level lenses.

A brief window between Labor Day in the U.S.--but before the IFA show starts in Berlin Sept. 6--is getting more than its fair share of mobile announcements.

Samsung plans to unveil the next generation Galaxy Note AND its new hyped Galaxy Gear smartwatch on Sept. 4. Sony now will announce the latest addition to its Xperia line that same day. The new Sony smartphone already is promising bleeding-edge goodies for the prosumer phonetographer.

All this will be followed shortly thereafter by Apple's new iPhone announcement, which is expected on Sept. 10.

The Sony reveal

Here's what we know about Sony's latest offering: The official Xperia Twitter account ( @sonyxperia) Tuesday coughed out a vague question "what comes next." It then answered its own question with the hashtag #Sept4 and with a link to teaser video:

The YouTube video features the caption "Think you know what a smartphone can do? It's time to think again. Something new, something extraordinary is on the way from Sony. Be amongst the first to get the latest." The video itself features a black handset that eventually finds itself dunked in a water tank--all Xperia Z style.

It's widely believed that the mystery item is the item is the Xperia Z1, the successor to the well received, but not even a year-old flagship Xperia Z. The Xperia Z1--previously dubbed "Honami"--is reported to feature a beefy 20-megapixel sensor and a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor (far out-pacing its predecessor's 13-megapixel camera and Snapdragon S4 processor).

Earlier this week, Sony tweeted pics of the same device featured in Tuesday's teaser along with the question "Have we captured your attention yet...?" The key PR word there is probably "capture" as the tweeted pics--as well as in the teaser video--prominently feature the phone's lens next to a clearly-displayed G logo. That G logo just happens to be the same logo for Sony's pro-quality G lenses.

Playing with the big boys

If the new water-resistant handset does indeed include a 20-ish megapixel back camera along with some pro-level hardware, that will put the new device in direct competition with some of the recent high-end camera-centric offerings such as the Nokia Lumina 1020 and Samsung's Galaxy S4 Zoom.

In fact, a quick-and-dirty analysis would show that Sony would have noteable advantage against both competitors in this space: The Lumina 1020 has a truly amazing camera that is unfortunately connected to a Windows Phone, meaning that the number of favorite picture and video apps are limited.

Meanwhile, the S4 Zoom is another great camera phone, but it has a big bulky and decidedly not-pocket-friendly lens on its back, while--from what we've seen--the Z1 looks to be completely flat.

We'll drop more details next week as all the new phones come out to play.

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