Sony to drop premium mid-range handsets to focus on the top and middle of the market

Sony to drop premium mid-range handsets to focus on the top and middle of the market
Sony Mobile has announced that it has decided to exit the "premium mid-range" market. These are handsets with nearly flagship specifications, but offered at a reasonable price. Phones meeting this description include last year's Sony Xperia X and Sony Xperia X Compact. Due to their lack of true flagship status, sales were disappointing. In Japan, those two devices generated 85% of their expected revenue. Outside of the country, that figure was only 31%. Globally, the two models had only 43% of the sales that Sony was expecting.

At its annual Investor Day gathering yesterday, Sony made it clear that it will be producing only flagship and mid-range models like the Sony Xperia XZ Premium and Sony Xperia XZs at the high-end and the Sony Xperia XA1 and Sony XA1 Ultra in the mid-range market. To differentiate its Xperia products from other companies' handsets, it wants to ship technology "that only Sony can deliver." Among those features are the "Motion-eye camera system with 960 fps super-slow-motion. And there is the 4K HDR display on the Xperia XZ Premium, the first smartphone so equipped. This will include streaming and downloaded 4K HDR content from Amazon Prime Video.

Sony still has designs in North America, but realizes that it will have to spend big bucks on marketing. By spending on getting its name out there, it hopes to create a strong partnership with stateside carriers. The lack of such a connection has really hurt Sony's handset sales in the U.S.

During Investor Day, Sony used slides to show off its future business model. The company hopes to see its new handsets take up a larger percentage of overall phone sales. To do this, Sony plans on having a quick clearance of previous models in order to clear out older inventory.

Will this strategy finally see Sony make a name for itself in the smartphone market? On specs alone, when the Sony Xperia XZ Premium launches next month, it should be in the conversation when discussing the top Android handsets for 2017. Yet, the average consumer in the U.S. is probably not even aware of this upcoming device. Hopefully, Sony will follow its game plan and put some serious money into marketing. But Sony needs more than that. It needs to have a strong carrier partner in the U.S. that is willing to commit to its devices. If that happens, Sony might have a shot of pulling its smartphone business out of the hole it has perpetually been in.


source: XperiaBlog

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22 Comments

1. sgodsell

Posts: 6585; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Can't wait for their XZ premium with the 960 fps camera, and that 4k hdr display. The SD 835 is also nice to have.

2. legiloca

Posts: 1673; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Both Sony and HTC have to up their phone release plan (Sony releasing XZs when XZ is good enough on its own, HTC releasing U 11 when U Ultra and play are barely 6 months from release date) and ensure that mid range is just mid range and premium should just be premium, also prices have to be very justified. Mini Poll: XZ Premium or HTC U 11? Fun fact: We got the 6GB RAM / 128 GB ROM combo HTC U 11 variant here, and we have all gorgeous colors. Am torn!!!!

3. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2205; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

First, I think it is a smart decision by Sony to drop the premium midrange segment. It has become a little confusing when they release all of these models and they differ in price by only $100 and their spec sheet is only slightly different. So, less is more in this case. Second, I hope that by dropping the segment that X Compact was in does not mean they won't be producing another Compact device (which I know the current rumor is there will still be one, but again I thought it was worth mentioning) as it seems to be a successful model line. Finally, if Sony is going to continue to produce what they believe are "premium" products then they absolutely have to step up their game. While I do believe the latest XZ Premium has shown to be a real contender for the best phone of 2017 and has shown that Sony can indeed produce a good device, it still falls short in certain areas such as the lack of VR/AR, a non-evolutionary design, and a lack of any real innovative features outside the camera. If I'm going to be paying for a premium device then I expect the same features that others have on the market PLUS some that are not on other devices.

6. kabiluddin

Posts: 272; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

It's always a pleasure to read your sensible comment among all the trolling comment from samsung troll.

9. Feanor

Posts: 1266; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

You have Digital Noise Cancellation which you didn't have in any other device until the arrival of the HTC U11. But Sony has it since 2014 and it's one of the most important technological breakthroughs of their flagship lineup (and nobody noticed). Now you have the 960fps recording that again no one else has. So there ARE innovative features.

19. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2205; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

My comment stated "lack of any real innovative features OUTSIDE the camera" which would seem to mean that I found the 960fps feature innovative. And I never stated that Sony doesn't have innovative features but that there needs to be more in order to compete on the premium level. You cited a feature from 2014 as basis for an argument that they are being innovative. And while we are at it, let's give them credit for the 4K screen that now everyone is gonna jump on. That's all fine and good and I'm more than happy to say yes those are innovative features BUT my point still stands that you have to be more innovative in order to compete at that high end market. One new feature a year is not gonna cut it at that price range.

16. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

Since 2014 Xperia phones have AR. Inside cam app.

20. arif270191

Posts: 10; Member since: May 24, 2014

great comment... but I think Sony wont take VR as a priority for smartphones bcz of their playstation VR which is already a tremendous hit.. and I have used iphone 7, galaxy s7 edge and xperia XZ.. still i can say sony provides the best camera in the market (if u take photos in manual mode which lacks in iphone).. and i think the loop design of sony is quite good and fingerprint position is more convenient than any other!! (bcz i am right hand phn user).. stamina mode is better battery management than any other phns'.. so sony is actually in the right position but they have the worst marketing policy!! I am actually a galaxy s7 edge,xperia xz and iphn 7 plus user and i love s7 edge's camera most convenient and iphone's are the worst!!

4. fyah_king unregistered

Trim the bezels and you will have my

5. zenun12

Posts: 205; Member since: Oct 31, 2016

Based on my understanding, does this mean Sony will sell older models in their inventory, for way less than their current pricing?

17. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

It means this... Midranges like XA1, XA1 Ultra and L1. High ends : premium, mid sized and compact... No phone with Qualcomm 65X or 66X, like X.

7. GoTstan

Posts: 370; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

Still confusing as hell to me. All of it, the strategy, and especially the names of the phones. Makes wii and wiiU debacle look bush league

8. zenun12

Posts: 205; Member since: Oct 31, 2016

The Premium mid-range segment was good for a while, the Sony Xperia M5 offered a lot for less money. It had a Mediatek Helio X10, IP68 rating, 1080p 5" IPS LCD, 21.5 MP camera with 4K video recording, and it only cost $400. At the time of it's release, it screamed bang for the buck but after a few months, Chinese phones became more widespread.

10. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1499; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Do they even sell phones in the US anymore? Last I checked you can only buy select models unlocked. Haven't seen a Sony phone in like 2 years, last time I touched one I didn't care for the software or square body on it, but it seemed to have a good camera set up going for it.

11. ajwillingham

Posts: 38; Member since: Jan 17, 2015

First, Sony need to get rid of the bezels and switch to an OLED screen. The XZ premium design with the S8 screen to body ratio would be amazing. Second, the do need to fix their US marketing plan. It doesn't seem like they even have one right now. Lastly, give us stock Android.

15. zenun12

Posts: 205; Member since: Oct 31, 2016

Expect it in 2020. Lol. That design you propose is more of form than practicality. First, where would you put those large rear and front camera sensors? Second, where would you put stereo speakers? Third, how large do you think the battery will be? Fourth, how thick will it become? Lastly, will the headphone jack still fit?

18. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

So you want a xperia with tiny bad fron cam and no functions?

12. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

posted on1 min agoEditReportReply 7. omnitech (Posts: 663; Member since: 28 Sep 2016) Sony has fantastic marketing. I bought a few Sony products based on ads and commercials but I have never done the same based on a Samsung ad. They need to find something marketable before they pour money into it. My main issues with the XZ premium is size and the UI. Fix those things and then what it does fanatstically will stand out more like the display and 960fps camera. I would love to have a mobile phone with a 4K display but can't justify it when it's that big.

13. brasstax

Posts: 534; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

I guess they ran out of alphabets to name the phones. After all there's only so much juggling you can do with the alphabets X, Y and See.

14. brasstax

Posts: 534; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

That should have been X, Y and Z.

21. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1403; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

It's a nice move but still many people buy midrange devices instead of flagship devices.

22. Greenmule

Posts: 128; Member since: Apr 24, 2017

"But Sony needs more than that. It needs to have a strong carrier partner in the U.S. that is willing to commit to its devices. If that happens, Sony might have a shot of pulling its smartphone business out of the hole it has perpetually been in." I agree. The first iPhone was a carrier exclusive on AT&T...you know the rest. if you look at what Sony did vs what they say, there are questions. the XZ Premium can work neither on the largest, nor the smallest of the carriers in North America, Nor is it fully functional on the second largest carrier (no LTE band 30, 66, 71). So, what does that show? Sony is bringing to market a phone that works best on T-Mo. And, as reported on this website, T-Mo is bringing to market a premium phone with a lifetime warranty. I think: "it's a Sony". The feature set isn't that critical as finding a carrier at this moment. What good are features if you can't sell the phone? Best wishes taking on Apple, Samsung, LG, Google, and One Plus, with an "unlocked" phone that works on 1.75 North American carriers.

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