While I think Sony has some of the best smartphone designs in the market right now, and I hope that it's one of the companies that will make a Nexus phone this fall, so far Sony has always been at least a few months behind the competition in terms of hardware specs.
I'm still not convinced that the upcoming Sony Xperia Mint will manage to catch up to the competition if it's only going to be announced on August 29th, and released maybe a couple of months later. By then I'm sure at least some HTC and LG phones will be using the quad core S4 Pro chips, while the Sony Xperia Mint will be stuck on the original dual core S4 chip.
The other specs of the Mint, such as the 13 MP camera, which is probably going to be the best camera of any Android phone to date, and the 4.3-inch HD Bravia Engine screen might make up for the device's half-a-year-old processor. Also, Sony's decision to unveil this phone on August 29th is puzzling, since Samsung plans to unveil the Galaxy Note 2 in the same day – and I'm pretty sure Samsung will steal its thunder that day.
I also worry that the Sony Xperia Mint will arrive with Android 4.0 on board, instead of Android 4.1. While Sony has been pretty good at upgrading its older phones, not all of the new ones have arrived with the latest version of Android, and a good example of that are the recently launched Sony Xperia U and Sony Xperia P.
Design is very important, and I think Sony has been doing a pretty good job with its latest devices so far, although I think the company may be in danger of making many of them look too similar. If Sony really wants to be considered one of the best Android manufacturers, it really needs to be able to launch its flagship devices with the latest cutting edge processors and with the latest version of Android on board