The peculiar case of the Sony Xperia Z3 in the United States continues with a fresh twist: T-Mobile has gotten fresh stock of the handset and is resuming sales online and, by the end of this week, in stores. It was roughly a month ago that the Z3 made an unannounced disappearance from T-Mobile's retail outlets, seemingly having been discontinued due to lack of consumer interest. At the time, T-Mobile tweeted in response to a disappointed customer with the simple statement that "the Z3 is no longer available."
The Xperia Z3 has not been among T-Mobile's heavily promoted Android handsets, and it's had to contend with being overshadowed by the more recent Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9. It's still a very good smartphone in its own right, however, which might have played a part in T-Mobile's change of heart. In a statement to The Verge, T-Mobile says that the Z3's absence was merely temporary:
"We work closely with phone manufacturers, including Sony, to continually adjust our device portfolio based on supply and customer demand. As a result of this, sales of the Xperia Z3 were temporarily suspended while we waited to receive additional inventory from Sony to support taking orders. We’ve since resumed online sales at T-Mobile.com and expect to have the phone back in stores by the end of the week."
The good news is that the Xperia Z3 is returning to an American carrier. The bad news is that the Z3 phones already sold by that carrier aren't getting the support they deserve, as the Android Lollipop update that everyone else has had for weeks and months has yet to roll out. This calamity appears to be primarily Sony's fault: in spite of announcing the Xperia Z3 Android 5.0 update in mid-March, the company only made it available on my carrier in the UK today. That's a month and a half late, relative to Sony's own delayed schedule, and nearly six months after the LG G3 got the same software patch.
It gets worse, though. Having spent some time testing the new software, I don't find myself overly impressed by its speed and have come across a couple of bugs already. The most prominent one is that my lock screen wallpaper is being overridden by my home screen wallpaper, and I'm at a loss for figuring out a way to set the two independently. I suppose that gives us a clue as to why Sony is taking so long with this update, and T-Mobile offers little hope of an imminent reprieve. The US carrier says it's hoping to have Lollipop running on the Xperia Z3 in the upcoming months, not weeks:
"We’re working very hard on the Xperia Z3 Lollipop update for T-Mobile customers – and to ensure customers get the best possible experience with this update. We’re hoping to roll it out in upcoming months and will share more details as they’re available."