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Sony returning to the U.S. market with a bang

Posted: , by Radoslav Slavov

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Sony returning to the U.S. market with a bang
Yesterday's unveiling of the Sony Xperia ion at CES 2012 made us think about the hidden significance behind this announcement. The Xperia ion is not just a new top-of-the-line smartphone by the manufacturer. It represents Sony's commitment to setting its foot on the U.S. market once again. In short, the company hasn't had a big-time, high-end model in North America for quite a while. Yeah, the Xperia PLAY launched on both Verizon and AT&T, and it's a very powerful smartphone, but it has always been more of a niche device. So when we talk about a real comeback to the U.S., we mean that Sony (no Ericsson anymore) is now going for the masses.

However, having in mind that U.S. customers are used to getting the latest and greatest tech, it makes us wonder if the ion will be good enough to successfully compete with monster offerings such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus or the Lumia 900.

Without a doubt, the Sony Xperia ion is very well-equipped. The handset features an enormous 4.6” display with HD resolution, 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor, LTE and an impressive 12MP camera. The only downside of the Xperia ion that we see right now is that it'll initially launch with Gingerbread, and will only later be updated to Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich, but that's seems to be a common practice among Android manufacturers now.

Sony Xperia ion, an AT&T exclusive

Sony Xperia ion, an AT&T exclusive

So, as we saw, the device is good enough in terms of specs. Still, there's a little something that might stand in Sony's way to establishing a solid presence in the U.S. - while Sony is very well-known as a brand anywhere in the world, Sony the phone-maker isn't particularly popular in the U.S., especially with that recent change in its name. Because of that, we foresee a bumpy start for the Sony Xperia ion. Sony will first have to go through the painful period of familiarization, where its premium products (the ones that are going to establish Sony as a brand in the phone biz) like the Xperia ion will be mainly purchased by small groups of early adopters.

On the other hand, the ion does sport features that are desired by the U.S. smartphone aficionado – a very large screen and LTE support are good examples. But the good things about this Sony smartphone don't end here. Similarly to almost any other Android phone manufacturer out there, the company's offerings are using a custom UI on top of the OS. Nothing out of the ordinary so far... but the important thing here is that Sony's smartphones rely on one of the best proprietary interfaces we've seen. It is pretty and polished, and it also manages to bring just the right dose of differentiation without overdoing things. In other words, if there's a perfect Android skin, Sony's solution is very close to it. That alone is a very important factor which can win over many users, due to the superior experience that it offers.

To summarize, we would say that Sony does have a pretty strong player in the Xperia ion (though we'd rather do a review first, and then jump to conclusions), which has what it takes to become a force on the market. However, this won't be as easy as it sounds, due to a) strong competition, and b) very weak brand recognition until now, at least in the field of high-end smartphones for the U.S. Give it the right marketing, though, and we're sure there will soon be a new big name in town. What do you think – will the Xperia ion help Sony conquer some valuable positions in the U.S.?

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posted on 10 Jan 2012, 21:49 5

1. Birds (Posts: 1029; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)


Yep its a sexah axx bang!!!!! I love the phones!

posted on 10 Jan 2012, 21:58 7

2. lboogy82788 (Posts: 22; Member since: 09 Jan 2012)


Yeah the phone is nice and if Sony can release a quad-core monster at MWC, than I can say that Sony is making a comeback:)

posted on 10 Jan 2012, 21:58 1

3. rjbp64 (Posts: 28; Member since: 15 Dec 2011)


SONY PLEASE COME TO VERIZON!!!!!!!!! But only with the Xperia S...

posted on 10 Jan 2012, 21:59

4. Cwebb (Posts: 501; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


I think the casual market still thinks of Sony as a premium and trustworthy brand because of its other products like the PS3 and its Bravia TV's. I believe because of those high-end connections, Sony will force its way into the casual audience, and it has the specs to steal a geeks heart

posted on 10 Jan 2012, 22:02

5. belovedson (Posts: 832; Member since: 30 Nov 2010)


what dacs in there

posted on 10 Jan 2012, 22:03 2

6. networkdood (Posts: 6327; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Looks like a captivate - I wonder how good that 12MP camera will be.....great job SONY (no Ericcson).

posted on 10 Jan 2012, 22:32

7. niteryda8 (Posts: 19; Member since: 10 Jan 2012)


I would love to purchase one of these fine Sony products, but for whatever reason their attention is never directed to Sprint. I have other Sony products that the phone will accompany very nicely, but if it doesn't come to Sprint, then to me it doesn't exist.

posted on 10 Jan 2012, 22:39

8. yougotkilled1 (Posts: 167; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)


Seeing Sony come out with these phones makes me drool :D Time to get rid of my arc for a xperia s :D

posted on 10 Jan 2012, 22:44

9. imkyle (Posts: 1023; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)


I love my Galaxy S II, but this is some sick stuff. Way to go AT&T and Sony

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 00:35 2

10. GeekMovement (Posts: 1521; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)


Sony is getting pretty amazing. I wish one of their top phones will be coming to sprint!

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 03:20 2

11. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


I don't think there's a "brand recognition" problem, now that it's just Sony we're talking about.
On contrary, I see mass market being eager to adopt exactly this kind of phone wearing the Sony badge.
When you think about it, Sony is still THE electronic brand in the mindset of average consumer. HTC and Motorola are way behind in that regard.
People need a true alternative to Samsung, and Sony is just that.

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 18:59

25. Gangzz (Posts: 5; Member since: 09 Jan 2012)


Well said bro!

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 03:24 5

12. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


oh and yeah, comparing Nokia 900 with this?
ridiculous

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 03:32 4

13. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


actually, here's a dare to phonearena: compare the lumia 900 with arc s, in the standard side to side spec battle (not the new xperia s, but arc s)
my bet is that arc s will put up a good battle. maybe even win.

and then put lumia 900 against ion.
need I even say that ion would absolutely trash it?
I see it winning in EVERY SINGLE column

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 04:46

14. rahulcena5565 (Posts: 57; Member since: 01 Nov 2010)


Only USA :'(

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 05:28 1

15. hedinn (Posts: 1; Member since: 11 Jan 2012)


I prefer the xperia S but this is a strong offering. But by what standards is Nokia lumia 900 a montser offering? I don't see how that phone even compares.

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 06:24

16. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)


it will come to the rest of the world for sure..

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 06:28

17. gammaSharma (Posts: 33; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)


what is the need of these ugly hardware buttons. It just looks like a copy of motorola now. The design does not look anything like sony. The Arc design should have been maintained.

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 07:02

18. daniel_bargs (Posts: 325; Member since: 27 Nov 2010)


i really love this phone! very iconic and standing out. 12 mp camera... damn cybershots their the best!... bravia engine... damn they make damn great televisions... and sony appliances are so expensive than their korean counterparts... i love japanese technology and everything japan because my mom always tells me japan always love perfection... when a biscuit they plastic gets a minor crack or something... it automatically goes to the garbage...

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 08:08

19. sonisoe (Posts: 337; Member since: 06 May 2009)


yup except for x10 which i believe was more of a trial product... i've had an xperia arc as well as xperia mini pro... the ui is beautiful and polished and is not "heavy" so performance dosnt really suffer....

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 08:09 3

20. RamyRamz69 (Posts: 390; Member since: 12 Dec 2011)


Lumia 900? Yeh it's a good phone and everything...but the Xperia ARC S is even better while compared to it....

I really love this phone, I'll buy it no matter what. I won't buy the Samsung Galaxy S3 or whatever they come up with and claim the best. I won't buy an ugly looking Quad Core phone with 2 GB RAM because of a simple reason...I don't need it, neither will most of the people. The Xperia Ion gives me the specs I need and even much more. The SEN(Music and Video unlimited) is one huge advancement over every other device. And the Playstation Store? Please, this phone is equipped with a dual 1.5 GHZ Processor, a 720P Super LCD Screen, Mobile Bravia Engine, 12 MP SONY camera capable of 1080P HD, 3D pictures and Panorama, a front facing camera with 720P for Skype, Exmor R Sensor, the best android skin I've ever seen and it has Micro SD support....why would I even bother searching for another phone with superior specifications?

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 08:43 1

21. chuckyoo (Posts: 34; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


All sony have to do to gain major interest and sales for this device is release it with Android 4.0. Showing off a nice device is dumb if you are known for taking time upgrading your device. Could be a great competition once ICS is inside that monster.

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 09:00

22. naga.appani (Posts: 36; Member since: 26 Nov 2011)


I did not like that design at all....

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 11:58 1

23. Jyakotu (Posts: 823; Member since: 12 Dec 2008)


In terms of brand recognition, I think that the fact future phones will be just SONY will help it to boost sells. Like someone said earlier, SONY is still known as a high end brand when it comes to electronics to the average consumer. I think the Xperia ion looks great and has a chance of doing some numbers.

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 18:56

24. Gangzz (Posts: 5; Member since: 09 Jan 2012)


Ray! Are u kidding me? Lack of Brand familiarity for SONY?? Yes, phone. So what? Sony always rules. Would you compare it to the KODAK's new phone?

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