Sony's president explains why the company remains in the smartphone business

Sony's president explains why the company remains in the smartphone business
The old saying "Always a bridesmaid never a bride," seems perfectly suited to Sony's smartphone experience in the U.S. Unable to score a long term supply contract with stateside carriers, you'd have to go back all the way to 2011's PlayStation integrated Sony Ericsson Xperia Play to find a Sony branded handset on two U.S. carriers at the same time. The last model to be offered by a U.S. carrier was 2014's Sony Xperia Z3v.

Even overseas, Sony's handsets seem to attract attention but haven't cut it when it comes to actual sales. Part of the reason was the company's decision to churn out new flagships every six months, which left potential buyers with the feeling that something better was only 6-months away. It also gave those who plunked down money on a Sony handset the sinking feeling that their phone would be obsolete after that short period of time.

So every year we would pass along reports that Sony was considering selling or even closing its smartphone business. And while Sony was awarded with the MWC 2017 "Best New Smartphone" for the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, it will end up waiting five months before delivering the handset. With a 4K display and the Snapdragon 835 chipset running the show, Sony should have struck while the iron was hot.

Perhaps we now have a better understanding of Sony's smartphone strategy after reading comments made by Sony president Kazuo Hirai that were published today. The executive says that Sony is not in the smartphone business at this point to battle leaders like Apple and Samsung. Hirai says that Sony needs to stay involved in the business to keep its relationships with retailers and carriers. This way, it can quickly take advantage of the next paradigm shift in how we communicate with others. He notes that such a shift takes place every ten years.

Besides entertainment, Sony believes that there will be plenty of opportunities in the enterprise market for VR. Which leads to this thought. If the last paradigm shift took place with the widespread use of smartphones, surely the sand is running down on the ten-year reign of that device. And that could mean that VR could lead the way over the next decade. Or perhaps it will be something totally unexpected. Whatever it is, Sony's president says that his company will be involved and that thanks to the company's decision to continue in the smartphone business, Sony has its distribution channels primed for whatever product replaces the smartphone.

source: FinancialReview via AndroidCentral



1. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Stfu. You're better off in the tv business.

2. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

So you don't like competition? The XZ premium ticks a lot of (my) boxes with its 5,5" 4K HDR screen (world's first), SD835, IP68 and its IMX400 camera with super slowmotion (world's first).

5. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

world's first to be shown off, sure, but the S8 will be the world's first to be delivered. one is a tech demo, the other is a finished product. Sony needs to do whatever they can to get on carrier stores. The products are definitely of quality but they are impossible to buy for the average person. They shot themselves in the foot.

6. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

No other phone will launch with a 4K HDR display or with the IMX400 and its 960 fps till May. It's not difficult to buy an Xperia phone here in Europe, it's as easy as a Samsung or iPhone: all carriers and stores sell them.

16. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"It's not difficult to buy an Xperia phone here in Europe, it's as easy as a Samsung or iPhone: all carriers and stores sell them." Not in the US, as this article itself states that the last Sony smartphone offered by a carrier in the US is the 2014 Xperia Z3v.

22. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

I know, it sucks for American Sony fans, but US =/= rest of the world. They simply don't want to compete against Apple and Samsung in the US.

33. Omarc07

Posts: 574; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

Yea europe but like he said here in the US . it is almost impossible to buy one. Because no carrier offers them so we gotta buy them unlocked which is much much more expensive. Most people are not doing that. Even when I was in mexico 2 months ago. Carriers over there get Sony phones and sell them for much cheaper so people over there get sony phones. Problem is here in the US. I guess sony dont like the US.

34. Omarc07

Posts: 574; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

The last time a carrier offerd a phone from sony here was 2014. Never again now we gotta buy unlocked which is a big NO.

35. sgodsell

Posts: 7466; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Not to mention if you want to play PlayStation games, then you can only play them on a Sony smartphone.

38. sgodsell

Posts: 7466; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

4k displays, amazing cameras, play actual PlayStation games on you Xperia smartphones. To name a few.

41. MomoSimon

Posts: 25; Member since: Feb 23, 2017

Sammy fanboy

14. dazzmichael

Posts: 71; Member since: Sep 15, 2014

I don't understand all the hype, maybe it's because you're an Xperia fan. I use Sony Z5 Premium chrome, design is attractive but Sony is one annoying Company when it comes to mobile, Camera app has be awful like forever, top and bottom speaker calibration problems, headphone jack problem, yeah and what's up with the top and bottom bezel/frame. I've been looking towards selling this device but the value is poor compared to when I purchased it. Damn Sony Damn.

37. techbuttcheex

Posts: 205; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

they still can't color balance a basic ips display after 10+ generations of flagship phones.

39. cheetah2k

Posts: 2275; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

I just dunno with Sony. Why bother.. I mean, announce a phone in Feb, release in July?? WTF?!! I'd love an XZ Premium, but seriously it'll be over priced, and too late.

13. adi90

Posts: 554; Member since: Dec 21, 2015

Sony cannot overcome the popularity of apple and Samsung in premium segment. Similarly, it can not provide VFM mobiles that Chinese OEM like xiaomi, Op3, huwaei , lenovo can provide. So whether it releases a mobile with 4k screen and sd835 processor . No one cares. Better wait for paradigm shift.

3. VasiliS7

Posts: 202; Member since: Jan 10, 2017

The mobile business is very difficult to change now. They are only 2 players and that will not change any time soon.

24. dimas

Posts: 3385; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

That's what people thought about nokia years ago.

4. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

Good. Now finally bring back the FM radio, Sony.

8. mixedfish

Posts: 1562; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

'Paradigm shift' has already occurred with software, once what was a Facebook game now it seems a new generation of user has taken up Instagram and Snapchat instead.

15. Cat97

Posts: 1940; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

The reason Sony failed ? It's easy: the huge bezels.

18. Tabby_Tiger

Posts: 305; Member since: Jan 23, 2017

I personally think Sony makes very nice looking phones but they are always overlooked for whatever particular reason. I cannot say for sure that it's the bezel but I don't have any other explanation. At one stage their tablets had the biggest bezels of them all.

42. Youshy

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

i think sony main flaw is the design,it has the quality and the premium finish but all xperia look exactly the same and the design it self has a symmetry which will appeal to a specific type of people engineers, bussniess men and nerds.the xperia XA has the design that will appeal for women and more younger people but has a very low battery life !

27. xtriker360

Posts: 16; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

Can he explain why so much bezel? lol

28. DFranch

Posts: 557; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

I might think about Sony if it weren't for the giant top and bottom bezels, and the high price.

31. zenun12

Posts: 205; Member since: Oct 31, 2016

Most consumers don't care about bezels, they only care about ergonomics, how easy it is to hold, and overall general design. They don't read spec sheets and see how many millimeters thick it is. Some consumers meanwhile buy a phone that gets the job done, some buy it for the brand, as a status symbol. And some buy a phone based on how uncommon it is. (Like being the only person to buy an Escalade while the whole world use a Navigator)

29. rsiders

Posts: 1981; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Sony has terrible timing and highly priced devices compared to more popular competitors. The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is one of if not the most impressive devices of 2017 so far. No other phone has a 4k HDR display or a camera that can record 960fps slow motion AND with front facing speakers. But their timing is TERRIBLE and unless Sony prices the XZ Premium at a cheaper price than its main competito, the majority of consumers aren't going to dole out the upfront cost of an unlocked phone when they can get any phone at a fraction of the immediate investment through monthly payment plans provided by carriers. I would love it if T-Mobile offered this beast but it probably won't happen.

40. johnh3

Posts: 144; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

I suppose Sony had no option with the Premium device to release it in june. Samsung got the first Snapdragon 835 batch before all other brands. The other option would be releasing it with Snapdragon 821 to get it out faster. But then customer would complain about the "old" processor. But if Sony get the camera right this time I think XZs and the Xperia Premium might get some traction after all. Yes they got problem in the US market. But better to sell a few devices there than non at all. In Europe they got deal with carriers etc...Here I see a lot of Sony phones.

43. UnlimitedSkye03

Posts: 300; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

Xperia's specs are getting quite better, they just need better designers and lower pricing :|

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