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.”