Fresh off a global unveiling at the 2013 International CES at Las Vegas in January, Sony has announced the release plans for its flagship Xperia Z smartphone in Australia.

The Android smartphone features a 5-inch Full HD Reality Display (1080 x 1920), a 1.5-GHz Snapdragon S4 processor with 2GB of RAM, 4G compatibility and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. There is a 13-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front-facing camera, both of which are capable of shooting video in Full HD.

Hoping to distinguish the Xperia Z from other smartphones in the marketplace, Sony is focusing its marketing message on the integrated NFC-capabilities of the device, which it will promote under the Sony “One-touch” branding.

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In addition, Sony is spruiking the smartphone’s water and dust resistance, features which were promoted through an experiential marketing campaign at the Color Run event (sic) in Sydney and Melbourne recently.

The managing director of Sony Mobile Communications Oceania, John Featherstone, said the smartphone category has seen huge growth for retailers and CE manufacturers, making the Xperia Z launch a big focus for the Sony brand.

“If you look at the market, [the smartphone category] is really at the heart of the digital world,” he said. “If you read reports from GfK, it’s now a bigger portfolio, the overall category, than combined CE. Who’d have thought that a smartphone would be a decision for a Christmas present? But that’s where we’ve got to.”

According to Featherstone, within this “new consumer paradigm” features such as a smartphone’s memory, processor or operating system are just necessary standards that manufacturers need to meet.

“You just have to tick the box,” he said.

As far as consumer desires were concerned, Featherstone said that they were looking for more advanced feature sets, and the Xperia Z was designed with those touchpoints in mind.

“Now we’re moving towards a situation where there are other hooks that consumers are looking for around design, display, camera, connectivity, applications and social services,” he said.

The Xperia Z is priced at $749 through Sony’s online store, and Vodafone has confirmed that it will be selling the black model from 13 March for $0 upfront on its $60 plan. Optus will also range the black model, while Telstra will offer black and white in selected stores and purple in its online stores. Both Telstra and Optus will launch the device in mid-March, with pricing yet to be announced. Availability in Australian electrical retailers is also yet to be confirmed.

Managing director of Sony Mobile Communications Oceania, John Featherstone, with the new Xperia Z.

Media personality Mark Beretta and John Featherstone at the Sydney Color Run, where Sony conducted an experiential marketing campaign to show off the dust and water resistance of the Xperia Z (below).

The Xperia Z will be available in Black, White and Purple.