By Robert Schoon / ( | First Posted: Feb 09, 2013 01:30 PM EST

Today Sony released the Xperia Z in Japan, the first country to see a roll out of the new flagship device. After that, expect it to hit mobile carriers in the United Kingdom on February 28th and then start hitting the rest of the world after that, in March.

As we reported earlier, carriers like O2 and Three in Great Britain are accepting pre-orders and even sweetening the deal with a pair of Sony headphones worth $300 for those who get pre-order early enough to catch the deal before supplies run out.

In Japan today, carrier NTT Docomo is making the device available today, after pre-orders began there on January 23. The Xperia Z is available in black, white, and purple, and is apparently a custom Japanese model, with localized software tools, infrared, and other features, according to

The standard model of the Xperia Z, which we'll be seeing more of in March, will give some decent competition to the top smartphones out there like the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Apple iPhone 5. It will come with a 1.5GHz quad-core processor with 2GB RAM, and a 13-megapixel camera with 16x digital zoom and apparently great image fidelity in bad lighting conditions.

Its display is 5-inches with full high definition and a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels at a density of 443 pixels per inch. It will come with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but it's been announced that Sony will quickly update their Xperia Z phones to Android 4.2 Jelly Bean soon after launch time.

There are other aspects of the Xperia Z that may give Sony the extra edge to help it challenge the major smartphones out there.

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