We were somewhat surprised that Sony Mobile did not announce any new Xperia handsets during this morning’s MWC press conference. Obviously we got the global Xperia Tablet Z announcement everyone expected, but it was the first time that the company has not announced any new handsets at MWC since its Xperia Android adventure began.
In 2010, Sony Ericsson announced the Xperia X10 mini and Xperia X10 mini pro at MWC, in 2011 the Xperia neo, Xperia PLAY and Xperia pro were announced and last year saw the introduction of the Xperia P and Xperia U.
It is not as if there weren’t any rumours either, the Xperia SP (C530X) specs have already been widely leaked along with a number of images. Then there are other model numbers we’ve come across including the C210X (Xperia L), C360X and C550X.
We suspect the reason behind the MWC no-show is to not dilute the marketing campaign around the Xperia Z. Some people may have been sitting on the fence and waiting until MWC to see what else Sony has in store lower down the Xperia range. Those announcements will still come of course, but at an ad hoc date in the future and perhaps without much fanfare either.
Right now, it’s all about flagship Xperia devices and to this end, Sony’s CEO Kazuo Hirai reaffirmed the company’s intention to “further enhance the premium mobile segment”.
“In the past year we have worked hard to integrate mobile into the heart of the Sony business and placed all our Android smartphones and tablets under a single brand – ‘Xperia’. It is a premium brand with a consistent user experience across every device and a great example of what we can achieve as ‘One Sony’,” said Kazuo Hirai earlier today.
Sony Mobile looks to be taking a departure from its 2012 strategy of releasing a wide range of phones to suit all budgets to one that is focused on higher-margin flagship devices. This doesn’t mean the company won’t release low or mid-range devices, but marketing dollars will probably be focused on the high-end devices such as the Xperia Z and Xperia Tablet Z.
Sony Mobile confirmed that the Xperia Z is now available across 60 countries and 140 sales channels, the widest ever for a Sony Xperia smartphone.
It also said that it has received strong support from a number of global operators. “The response to Xperia Z from our customers since launch has been incredibly positive. We highly recommend this smartphone to our customers. We are delighted to learn that both products will be available globally, allowing others to benefit from Sony’s premium mobile entertainment experiences,” said Kaoru Kato, President and Chief Executive Officer of NTT DoCoMo.