In an attempt to make their smartphone division profitable Sony is focusing on making high-end smartphones and abandoning feature phones.
The move, announced by Sony CEO Kaz Hirai, comes on the heals of Sony’s Xperia Z smartphone announcement at CES, which should arrive in the coming months to take on flagship devices like the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5
Speaking to Bloomberg, Hirai confirmed plans to refocus the ailing division by delivering phones consumers want to spend money on. Sony is turning to Android to make this happen, and not just any Android smartphones, but flagship smartphones. Hirai tells Bloomberg,
We are more in toward the high end of the market as opposed to trying to get into the commoditized portion.
Sony plans to build phones that, “wow people” and connect with them on an emotional level as part of this strategy. It’s not clear how the company plans to pull this off, but considering the connection users have to their smartphones, the idea is sound.
As Sony focuses on delivering high-end smartphones capable of taking on the iPhone 5 today and the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S4 in the months to come the company still faces a hurdle of getting Sony smartphones on major U.S. carriers.
Verizon currently offers the largest 4G LTE network in the U.S., but no Sony smartphones are available on store shelves. Sprint and T-Mobile don’t sel any new Sony smartphones either. AT&T is the only major U.S. carrier with any Sony smartphones on sale, the Xperia Ion and Xperia TL. The Xperia TL is the only one worth considering, but even at $49 the Xperia TL can’t compete with the Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5.
In order to turn the mobile division of Sony around, the company must focus on selling flagship devices that gain as much interest as the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5.
The Xperia Z took home our Best Phone of CES 2013 award thanks to its powerful processor, beautiful HD display and waterproof ability, but we’re still waiting to see which carrier the phone lands on. Sony needs to pursue the multi-carrier strategy that paid off for Samsung and Apple to give the new Xperia phones a chance and make Hirai’s strategy come to life.