sony-xperia-zThe sales of the latest addition to Sony’s Xperia line, the new high-end smartphone Xperia Z, has gotten off to a great start since its Monday launch in several leading European markets, according to the head of Sony Mobile’s Xperia marketing, Calum MacDougall.

In an interview at the Mobile World Congress, McDougall said they “have seen really good pre-orders. We had the first stocks available in Germany, in Berlin, at the Sony store, and sold those out in two hours… In France, we sold more in one day in our online store than we sold in 12 weeks in mobile devices.”

The latest Xperia unit was first launched in Japan last month and is now available in over 60 countries. Sony plans to use it to push greater presence in the mobile device market. The company plans to use other mobile devices, like the Xperia tablets, to overcome problems in its television unit that comprised a record group loss in the company’s last fiscal year.

“It (the Xperia Z) sold over 150,000 units in its first week in Japan, taking a 24 percent market share straight away,” said McDougall. “It may be a bit too early to say but the first signs are very positive.”

The new phone faces stiff competition, though, from the leading devices from Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics. According to consultancy firm Gartner, mobile phone sales in the last quarter of 2012 only comprised 1.7 percent from Sony, compared to 22.7 percent from Samsung and 9.2 percent from Apple.

In the same event, Sony also presented the new dust and water-resistant Xperia Z tablet that aims to challenge Apple and other Android-based tablets. The Xperia tablet, which weighs in at 495 grams and only 6.9 millimeters thin, is set to go on sale this spring.