Sony CEO confirms focus on high-end smartphones over “commoditized portion”

by XB on 17th January 2013

in News

Sony Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai has confirmed recent reports that the company will be targeting flagship smartphones over entry-level models. Speaking to Bloomberg, he said that “we basically are out of the feature-phone business and in the Android-based smartphone business. We are more in toward the high end of the market as opposed to trying to get into the commoditized portion.”

We need to have products that wow people, move people emotionally,” Hirai said. He went on to say that this focus on high-end models could help to turn the mobile business into a profit driver for the company. “That’s why we are in this business, and that’s why we invested heavily in the business. I believe we still have a lot of room to grow,” Hirai said.

Sony Mobile is currently forecasting to sell 34 million units in the year ending 31 March and sold 8.8 million handsets in the three months to September 2012. Hirai has increased research & development for smartphones, which should deliver higher margins going forward if executed successfully.

However, analyst views remain mixed on Sony’s chances of catching up. “Hirai’s plan to move the unit into profits seems to be a pipe-dream. Competition in high-end smartphones is only going to get tougher,” said Amir Anvarzadeh from BGC Partners. Another analyst, Hideki Yasuda, from Ace Securities said “it’s going to be hard for Sony to catch up. Still, the market is expected to continue growing, and that will probably enable Sony to boost sales.

Via Bloomberg [via Slashgear].

  • DragonClaw

    I do not care about these business matters. I will buy an Xperia Z, as soon as hits retail.

  • Babylonbwoy

    Concentrating on high end phone isn’t only about specs Mr Sony. As premium user we want premium services too and fastest update.
    Any idee of the Z price ?

  • powerofviva


  • kurt hinds

    I’m going to get the zl and want Sony to succeed. Loving their NFC products

  • Harsha

    I am going to buy Xperia Z the moment it is in market. Previous X10 user.

  • ok cool when are they gonna use premium screens dissapointed with z screen

  • Babylonbwoy

    French site said that Z will be 749Euros in Finland, 649 in Germany and 599 in Australia.
    Availability in mid february according to

    Source :

  • saif

    I think ” move people emotionally” contains that :p

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  • lovebmw

    So far anything about speedy Updates was just Talk, we have not seen Sony walk their talk yet on Updates… but on hardware, FINALLY they did, and i think this is an awesome step in the right direction.

  • lovebmw

    come on Dude, grow up or buy a Vita, Every phone can do what PS phone did

  • weeeeooo

    good luck sony~~

  • Just release it so consumers can buy it. Isn’t that how it works?

  • Ameer Zul

    I respect hirai, he’s awesome ^^. he said he increased research and development for smartphones. thats a nice strategy. i just hope, that we get update for latest OS faster :D

  • Making a cheap phone is hard for a company much smaller than Samsung. But Sony has lots of technology that help their high-end phones and make them interesting. Also, these companies get flamed for not updating the low-end phones. Everyday I scroll past countless of people crying over the fact that their phone won’t get another update.
    I think it will definitely be good for Sonys marketing to only make mid and high-end phones.

  • renato james

    features phones are really a crap, but release dual/quad/octa cores phones isn’t a bad a idea.

    i don’t think that sony needs to release more than 5 international mobile phones per year, just like this:

    first semester/second semester

    Xperia Z/high end phone with improved quad core

    xperia P succesor with qualcomm dual 1.7 ghz and 8 megapixel
    Xperia U succesor with qualcomm dual 1.2 with 5 megapixel
    Xperia U succesor with NovaThor processor

    also, sony should is improve the battery in their phones.

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  • jjghj

    I’m good with this as long as we get an Xperia Mini Pro or Xperia U size high end phone please! Not everyone wants a 5″ phone…

  • reptile64

    At last we will stop moaning about poor-performance phones without support! :P
    Try to see the bright side people!!!!! :D

  • Kvasak

    I totally agree!

  • saif


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  • I totally agree with Sony Mobile’s decision to concentrate on High end phones. It means there would be lesser phones to release which could give them more time for firmware updates. They could release atleast 4 phones per year, The Xperia Z/ZL on first quarter, then when the Galaxy S4 comes out they should release a new Playstation phone to get the spotlight away from the s4, they could use the snapdragon 800/600 or Tegra 4 on it with physical game controls, then when the note 3 arrives they should release an Xperia Hybrid phablet with stylus. Sony Ericsson made the stylus famouse before with their P series phones( P800, P900, etc..). I know they can succeed with this strategy, add to that a more timely update than samsung and other manufacturer’s. Crossing my finger’s on this…

  • Shubhs

    Yeh and if they start focusing less on lower level devices upper end devices will get updates quicker and isn’t this what everyone was ranting on about that Sony should stop releasing entry level phones .. Well I guess some people are never happy

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  • roeshak

    Well if the business matters are not taken care of, the company would go burst and then there’ll be no Sony to make the devices you love so. Think before you speak kiddo!
    I for one think it’s a good move. If they are to improve on software development, then their portfolio of devices will have to shrink considerably.

  • SonyFan

    i too with X10 (hanging around with custom Roms) :D

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  • Roy

    Fuck you Sony! You forgot those people who believes to your company for a long time. How about us (2011 xperia users)?

  • Julius Buma-at

    If they want to beat Samsung they should release only 3 or 2 smartphones per year (entry, mid-range, flagship or just only mid-range and flagship of ANDROID smartphones). That’s how Samsung caters their consumers and that’s how they (SAMSUNG) became NO. 1. They copied NOKIA strategy and make it their own. That way Sony’s software department can easily manage and deploy any software updates to the consumers. How hard would that be?

  • According to Bing translation for the SonyXP’s post on facebook. It says that “The software for the Xperia Z is ready now, the only thing left is to accelerate the production and hoping that there would be no yellow tint like the 2012 phones”

  • I am a 2011 user, and I don’t really give a shit anymore

  • azmadu

    If you’ve done some software development for a large corporation then you’ll know that what you consider to be speedy updates and what they consider to be speedy updates are two totally different things. If you get a Nexus 4 you’ll have all the speedy updates your heart could ever wish for ;-)

  • Ben-Amie Lim

    In Malaysia, lower end users rely on SONY to own an affordable and decent phone. Now that SONY is leaving the segment I feel quite disappointed.

  • lovebmw

    Or if you get a galaxy s3, HTC, Motorola, or LG, you will get speedy updates as well.

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  • Talking about ‘Specs’ of the Z/ZL phone won’t be as impressive if this phone doesn’t enter the consumer market any time soon.
    Whenever I have purchased a Sony phone, they had decent specs, but nothing like it’s competitor’s specifications for how much they’re worth. Sony has to be prompt with this.

  • razec

    IS there something he can possibly do anyway? absolutely Nothing, what do you want him to do anyway? Pray? seriously though, he has a point, why bother on something that’s completely out of your control? just get the device you like and let others deal with their problem,

  • Itj

    Vita OS phone! please!!!

  • dodong_schumacker

    If Sony’s attitude on treating their customers will stay as it is today, then I am certain that they will Sell Sonymobile to other competitors..hahahahahha!!!

  • Ashua

    Lg is terrible with updates and as for htc they are good but don’t Keep certain promises when it comes to updating some of their other phones!

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  • in 2011, it’s not sony mobile… so in 2013 it will be new beginning for xperia especially sony mobile in charge

  • David Hallowes

    @ azmadu
    A very good point and accurate. This is why eventually Siemens sold off their mobile phone business, which had been 3rd biggest on mobile phones. Being part of a massive corporation meant the line of decision-making went on and on and consequently it took an age to get the go ahead to be able to act on ideas, updates, etc.
    It’s a shame as I’d like Sony to do well. I especially like the fact they bother making water/dust-resistant high-end smartphones. It deserves to increase their status in the market as others do not make them. Such protected expensive devices are popular in Japan.
    Sony Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai says “We need to have products that wow people, move people emotionally,” On paper that may be so, but it will fail if Sony treats its customers as badly as it has been doing, i.e. releasing products to market with bugs and then not fixing them or even replying to customers whilst still selling them, and stopping software updates for phones half way through peoples’ 2 year contracts.
    Is that how to grow and maintain increased market share Mr Hirai, to annoy loyal customers who have spent money on your products and treat them with disrespect?

    THAT is Sony’s biggest problem. If it does not speed up the decision-making process and improve greatly its customer service then eventually it will fail. A complete sea change in attitude is required. Sadly there is no sign of the company understanding this.

  • David Hallowes

    Dear Mr Kazuo Hirai (Sony Chief Executive),
    We read that you intend concentrating on high-end smartphones in future. Please make them all water and dust resistant. It’s a great idea that makes Sony unique. They sell well in Japan so they should be able to sell well anywhere.
    However, as much as you may want to “move people emotionally” you will ultimately fail unless you create an entirely different state of mind within Sony, one where product support and customer service have the highest priority. You must be one of the worst companies in the world for this, so aloof and arrogant. Currently once Sony has peoples’ money it ignores their calls for help with product faults and software updates. It is simply unacceptable.
    Sony may manage to make some better phones that challenge market leaders for a while but any success will be short-lived if you continue to treat existing customers with such rudeness and disrespect. Eventually they will lose faith in your products and promises and choose another company’s products instead.

    That ought to be obvious to businessmen like yourself but it is something large corporations often lose sight of. Like Siemens before you, you also need to streamline the decision-making process so that things happen faster. If you carry on aggravating your customers as you do now, do so at your peril.

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