Sony Mobile's president says focus could shift from hardware to software

Sony Mobile's president says focus could shift from hardware to software
The president of Sony Mobile, Hiroki Totoki, says that his division needs to fatten up its profit margins. "The business can’t be justified if the profit margin is low," the executive noted. This comment comes amid talk that Sony is looking to spin off or sell the mobile unit. With only 3% of the global smartphone market, it might be hard for Sony to justify the continued existence of the Xperia handheld line.

Totoki replaced the division's former chief, Kunimasa Suzuki, last November. He says that even if hardware sales are low, he would like to keep Sony involved in mobile by developing innovative software. He cites Instagram and messaging app Line as examples of two innovative apps that have changed mobile communications for the better. "Communication used to be mainly over voice but now people use photos and stickers. We won’t tie ourselves only to smartphones or even hardware," Totoki said.

For a brief period of time, Sony was introducing a new flagship smartphone every six months in order to make sure that its devices could compete on specs. But Sony is no longer working on this schedule. Yesterday at MWC, it unveiled a mid-range waterproof handset called the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua. It also introduced a high-end tablet, the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet.

The last flagship handset unveiled by Sony was the Sony Xperia Z3 which was unwrapped last September, almost precisely six months ago. While that  period of time between Xperia Z models used to call for a new flagship phone, Sony Mobile's leader is working from a new playbook. "What we have learned from our long experience in the consumer electronics business is that consumers want details that you can’t deliver by just simply assembling powerful parts," Totoki said.

Two trouble spots for Sony Mobile are China and the U.S. Both countries are huge smartphone buyers. In China, Sony is cutting back operations after having trouble competing with low price manufacturers like Xiaomi. In the U.S., the manufacturer is unable to compete against companies like Apple and Samsung. Both have huge marketing budgets. In addition, Sony cannot seem to gain traction with all four major carriers in the states. Carrier branded models account for the lion's share of smartphone sales in the country.

source: WSJ

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