That claim comes from leaker Zackbuks on Weibo (a Chinese social network), and their post has been machine translated, so something may have been lost in translation. Regardless, they appear to be saying that by launching both flagships now, the company can release this “new U” a few months earlier than it would otherwise.
In other words, Sony will want to give its new flagships room to breathe before launching this mystery phone, but as one of them has launched earlier than in previous years (the Sony Xperia 5 II only landed in September), Sony won’t need to wait until late in the year to launch the “new U”.
It could be anything
What this mystery phone is though is very unclear. There’s speculation around the net that they could be referring to a new ‘Ultra’ handset, but if they are, that doesn’t necessarily mean a top-end one like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Rather, it could be a revival of Sony’s Ultra range, last seen with the mid-range Xperia XA2 Ultra from 2018.
There was, for what it’s worth, also a Sony Xperia U – but that’s ancient, so it’s very unlikely that Sony is bringing out a successor to it.
A new mid-range Ultra is more likely, but it could be something else altogether. Whatever it is, most sites suggest it will be mid-range or budget, since Zackbuks refers to the Xperia 1 III and 5 III as Sony’s flagships for the year (potentially implying that there won’t be any other high-end phones launched before 2022).
But were that the case, Sony wouldn’t necessarily worry about launching this phone close to its flagships, as they wouldn’t be competing for the same audience. So it’s possible that this upcoming phone actually is a flagship – and maybe even a super-premium Ultra of the kind we’ve seen from other brands. For now it’s anyone’s guess, but we will be watching closely.