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I came to IFA in Berlin fully prepared to bury Sony’s mobile division and its perpetually inadequate efforts to compete in a congested, hypercompetitive smartphone market. The design of the new Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact has barely evolved from the stuff Sony was showing off back in 2012. The specs are so commonplace as to engender merely a shrug. And the cameras, well, let’s just say that Sony’s camera problem is Sony itself — I trust this company to build the world’s greatest imaging sensors, but not to use them properly.

But here’s the surprise that blindsided me, having tried Sony’s new phones at IFA: Sony’s 3D Creator app is an augmented reality marvel that made even my cynical old soul happy and joyful. Up until this year, AR has…

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