Sony CEO Hirai says it will continue making smartphones, but not to compete with Apple or Samsung

Just because Sony CEO Kaz Hirai expects the company to report its largest ever operating profit this year (equivalent to $5.83 billion USD) doesn't mean that the company has fixed everything that has prevented it from rivaling Apple and Samsung in the smartphone business. In fact, the executive has a less than convincing answer to those who think that Sony should just give up when it comes to connected handsets.

Hirai says that Sony isn't sticking with smartphones because the product is the future of tech. He says that Sony needs to continue to sell the product in order to stay in the communications sector, from where it can monitor what is going on in the industry until the next paradigm shift. The executive says that continuing to sell handsets has nothing to do with today's smartphones, but has everything to do with remaining a leader in communications.

Sony does remain a major supplier of image sensors for other smartphone brands. Hirai drew a laugh by talking about Sony supplying "little companies" in Cupertino, South Korea and China when he was talking about Apple, Samsung/LG and Huawei, respectively. While this business has done well for Sony, its own Xperia brand has trouble gaining any traction in the U.S.

Not that it will make a huge difference, but Sony's U.S. handsets now feature a fingerprint scanner. While the company never explained why its biometric readers were disabled in the states, there is talk that the company had a deal with a stateside carrier that fell through. In order to extricate itself from the partnership with this carrier, Sony promised not to ship phones with a working fingerprint scanner to the U.S. for a certain period of time. Again, that is just speculation.

Sony continues to churn out handsets year after year, not looking to compete with the big boys, but just to bide its time waiting, as its CEO states, for the next big thing.


source: TheGuardian

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37 Comments

1. alumoyo

Posts: 392; Member since: Aug 26, 2013

Doesn't really fill the customer with confidence that Sony are trying their best when they design and develop these phones: we just make make smartphones to stay in the industry and we aren't trying to lead or even compete - WHAT??? At least he could say "we are focusing on a market segment different from Apple and Samsung" or something. But those statements are worrying.

2. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2427; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

It's like you didn't even read the CEO's own quote in the article. It says: "It’s not about the smartphones of today; it’s more about looking beyond smartphones – at what are we going to be doing – and to be a player in this space; IDEALLY TO BE A LEADER." I think PA framed it a little wrong by saying they don't want to compete with Apple or Samsung. What they're suggesting more so in the article that I read was that he was looking forward to being the leader in the next shift of the smartphone realm and that's why they're staying in while people are suggesting they get out. It's like he wants Sony to be the leader again but knows they won't get there if they just play catch-up or tit-for-tat in the competitive smartphone market. In other words: to be a player in the next innovation of smartphones instead of just being the afterthought. Right now, Sony is just producing smartphones as an afterthought in order to compete instead of coming up with innovative products. For example, even the rumored smartphone they are working on that is supposed to be introduce next month while it has the specs to compete with the latest and greatest it doesn't necessarily ADD to the smartphone space. It just simply competes. He wants to change that and add the wow factor back.

4. sgodsell

Posts: 7417; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Also Phonearena has said that a carrier didn't allow the finger print scanner. That is just BS. It was more like Apple or Microsoft that had stopped Sony from using the Finger print scanner in the US.

9. Alan01

Posts: 621; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

Read it again. What I wrote was that this was speculation. Then, after you read the passage again, Google "speculation." Regards, Alan F.

12. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

Story might be real. Z3+ was going to have a CDMA version ( QHD, 3000mAh and wireless changing like G3/S6) , it got cancelled.

8. Alan01

Posts: 621; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

The Sony CEO said that he is looking beyond smartphones which leads me to believe that he is not looking to compete with Apple or Samsung. Yes, he said he wants to be a leader, but with the next big thing, not with smartphones. Regards, Alan F.

15. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3145; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Alan, you seem to do most of the reporting on Windows mobile products. That means you either like the platform or you ran over the boss's toes. That being said, do you suppose Sony is going to go in the direction of mobile computing with telephony a la the Surface Unicorn?

32. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

I think staying in smartphone to stay relevant as top electronic maker brand. Their other products also didn't do better either. If Sony pull out from smartphone than brand recognition suffer greatly.

16. Awalker

Posts: 1981; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Does he actually know what the next shift of the smartphone realm is? Is there going to be a shift? I don't think he has any idea what he's talking about.

36. audibot

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

next is body and clothing then inplants

33. TerryD

Posts: 553; Member since: May 09, 2017

Maybe they dont want to compete against Samsung and Apple in the pointless pursuit of 100% screen to body ratio

35. audibot

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

they have 2 major problems 1 need to turn fingerprint unlock on 2 START SELLING IN THE USA ON CDMA AND GSM such a stupid move not selling here

3. Skizzo

Posts: 403; Member since: Jul 14, 2013

I read this to mean that they are staying in the game just to keep their ear to the ground and innovate behind the scenes to stay relevant for when the next big thing comes around. Hopefully the chefs at Sony are hard at work cooking up something special.

22. mixedfish

Posts: 1560; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

They already have, the new Aibo robot dog is not possible without expertise in mobile and IoT. No other company can make something similar because Sony is unique in having so many departments.

5. Subie

Posts: 2378; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Someone like Kaz Hirai should be running Microsoft...

13. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Why? Microsoft doing just fine.. And it's good that they stay out of smartphone market..

17. Subie

Posts: 2378; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

You're right on you're first point and I can respect your opinion. But as far as Microsoft staying out of the smartphone sector - I'll stick to mine. Cheers

18. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Even if they will not be selling phones, they'll still be in the smartphone market ideally. They still hold patents each and every smartphone uses.

6. fyah_king unregistered

Can't wait to get my hands on the xa2 and xa2 ultra.:)

7. dimas

Posts: 3380; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

"We continue selling sony phones just to keep the xperia branding alive and usable in the future." He made it sound very deep and poetic but that's how I understand it.

10. An.Awesome.Guy

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 12, 2015

What a humble company

11. theot14430 unregistered

Sony, no baloney.

14. techbuttcheex

Posts: 204; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

That makes sense in theory but then they release 30 models of new phones every year. You would think they would have like 2 or 3 models, and just stick to those if they weren’t seeing phones as a competitive market.

19. libra89

Posts: 2289; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

You're mistaken. They used to release a LOT more but decided to cut some since before IFA 2017. They aren't releasing as many this year.

26. hansip87

Posts: 228; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

Lets see.. Xz Premium Xz1 Xz1 Compact Xa1 ultra Xa1 L R (India only) Are you sure it's 30?

20. libra89

Posts: 2289; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I can get this. I like that they still have skin in the game...and it seems like they can afford to anyway.

21. Ciro1900

Posts: 591; Member since: Dec 17, 2017

what it means is that Samsung and apple is oriented to a casual audience and the.xperias are aimed at a more demanding public, who wants the best. Do not look for sales looking for quality of clients. Xzp destroyed the competition in 2017 and the Xperia x pro will do it again

23. So-min

Posts: 55; Member since: Dec 07, 2017

It's time to give up that hopeless wish. Sony and other Japanese companies aren't even spending for r and d. They just live off innovative leaders like Samsung and steal the ideas. They don't deserve anything in tech industry. What a pathetic loser of a brand name Sony.

25. hansip87

Posts: 228; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

Yet still no one make 4k display like Sony.

28. Ciro1900

Posts: 591; Member since: Dec 17, 2017

Neither 960 fps, nor arr effect, nor scan 3d Qnovo etc

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