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Introducing the Xperia A: Sony's Xperia Z follow-up spotted in FCC filing ahead of 15 May launch

Sony is set to launch a new flagship 5in Full HD smartphone later this year, according to recent documentation submitted to America's Federal Communications Commission.

First spotted by Engadget, the FCC filing lists the Sony 'NTT DoCoMo SO-04E' as pending approval, and speculation points to the issue number alluding to an Xperia Z follow-up, the Xperia A.

NTT DoCoMo is one of Japan's largest mobile networks, so the likelihood is that Sony is planning to release the device on home soil to begin with ahead of a wider international roll out.

What's interesting is the level of detail provided by Sony in its submission, which includes a number of photos of a prototype Xperia A (see image, top) - some pundits are interpreting the filing as de facto confirmation of the device.

With NTT DoCoMo lined up to announce its summer handset range on 15 May, Sony's next flagship smartphone could break cover in the immediate future, before going global in time for the lucrative pre-holiday shopping season.

In addition to a 1080p display, the Xperia A is tipped to feature a beefy 2,300mAh removable battery, the same 13-megapixel camera found on the Sony Xperia Z, 4G LTE connectivity and 16GB of on-board storage as standard.

Processor details didn't feature in Sony's FCC filing, but the smart money would be on the Xperia A sporting a new-gen quad-core SoC. It is also all-but-certain to ship with either version 4.1 or 4.2 of Android Jelly Bean.

Sony's current top-of-the-range mobile, the Xperia Z, first debuted back in January and was widely praised by critics and punters alike, not least for its intriguing water and dust-resistant body. However, in recent months, some onlookers feel it has been shown up by the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4.

Still, the Japanese multinational has certainly upped its game in recent times. In addition to the Xperia Z, Sony recorded its first profit in five years in May.