Sony aims for third in global smartphone race

by XB on 4th March 2013

in News

Sony Mobile is aiming to be the third largest global smartphone player according to Reuters. Sony currently sits in fourth place in the smartphone league table, sandwiched in between Chinese rivals Huawei (3rd) and ZTE (5th) according to research company IDC.

Kunimasa Suzuki, President and CEO of Sony Mobile, hinted at a roundtable briefing in Tokyo that it plans on altering its smartphone development according to each region. This could imply that it plans on launching cheaper models for emerging markets.

Evidence of this recent strategy can be seen in the recent announcement that the company is planning to release a new smartphone running Firefox OS in 2014. However, it would generally go against recent comments that CEO Kazuo Hirai has made in its focus on the premium segment, epitomised by the Xperia Z and Xperia Tablet Z.

What do you think is the right strategy for Sony’s smartphone domination? Carry on with premium products or take a broad-brush approach to all segments including entry-level models.

  • Nils

    i think they should do just middle- and high-end devices

  • DrazenDodig

    Samsung has both cheap and expensive… i think problem with cheap is that it sucks on Android, which is very resource heavy. So if they can use firefox os and it works, then it would be great.

  • just_being_real

    one step at a time. fourth for now, then third, then second, then first!

  • e.d

    nothing is impossible for Sony.
    but it better not to rely on high-end phones. you must flood the market with perfect mid-range and low-end devices as well.
    don’t forget the role of advertising and great marketing in your prosperity and GOOD LUCK.

  • Feanor

    I think the strategy should be market dependent; Premium models for older markets and affordable models for emerging markets.

  • adsada_arc

    I think they should produce low end phones under a different brand other than XPERIA and leave this for the high end phones, that would solve the dilemma of what Kazuo Hirai mentioned last month about the issue of low end devices. Hell bring back sony ericsson! ericsson could be the sub brand like XPERIA

    so you’d have the Sony: Xperia Z and the Sony: Ericsson Z

    I mean sony ericsson will always be remembered for its amazing dumbphones it produced in the noughties!

    But it is good to see Sony aiming realistically, 3rd place for them is definitely achievable unlike when Sony Ericsson wanted to become the number 1 manufacturer of Android phones

    haha remember that?

  • They should do a variety of handsets but concentrate on the top and middle end. Also don’t release too many handsets. About 6 -7 handsets a year is enough!

  • AsadMulla

    According to me Sony is number one. Sales figures, Who cares about sales figures.

  • Way less models.

    A flagship model
    A mid-range model
    A budget model (if Sony really wants to be here — as a premium brand I’m not so sure!)

    All these different models and feature sets just makes it harder for Sony to properly support customers with updates and bug fixes. They have enough hassles with the many multitudes of different global carriers delaying the rollout of upgrades.

    So I think a simplified product lineup with annual refreshes would be the way to go. It’s the Apple way, but it works and creates buzz and excitement every year when they do new updates. And makes it easier to get software updates out to customers more quickly.

  • Xperia Miro and Tipo works perfectly. Hm…

  • Akram Ahmed

    for me i adore sony No.1
    it’s a good hope and realible and can be achieved easly..and if they do this year…they will be 2nd and may be 1st in 2014

  • Shubhs108UK

    I agree with some of what you’ve said but at the moment Sony doesn’t have the worldwide recognition that Apple does, Sony needs to reinvent itself it’ll be a risk coming up with something new but if it works then Sony will make lots of money

  • Reese

    Do they? I’ve got the Sola and I can tell you its turtle slow on ICS. On GB it ran well.

  • John-Mark Christmas

    Your last statement is the one they really HAVE TO WORK ON. They NEED to step up on the advertising and marketing as you say. To add, and I said it before, Sony needs to make its presence more known in the U.S. I am baffled as to why the Xperia Z is not on ALL U.S. carriers.

  • malih

    Good luck Sony, it’s good that Sony aims to compete, I like the ambition.
    but I’m not going to be able to help, because they treated my 2010 and then 2011 Xperia poorly.

  • malih

    I have both Samsung and Sony phones from the same year.
    Based on my personal experience, I have to say the stock firmware of Samsung is more stable than Sony and more fluid. Of course Sony have other areas that they are good at but not stock firmware.

    Poorly executed firmware release is where Sony must improve.

  • iliketowritearticles

    If Sony wants sales, they MUST emphasize in either China or the US. India was a start for Sony. They should spread out more.

  • tiru

    Sony is not cheap mobile as Samsung or other companies. Sony is one step back from Apple for quality so don’t compare it with Samsung. So Sony should not release low model and it should release mid-high model with little higher price.

    If money matters people won’t prefer Sony so Sony should understand this.

  • Maki

    Sony midrange smartphones are not good , sony must develop this part. The cheap phones can’t compete with chinese phone makers.Sony should give up cheap phone.The expensive phone should only release one or two.

  • spatch

    Didn’t Sony already try to flood the market with cheap phones in 2012? And how well did that work? I associate Sony with high end products, and was pleased after CEO Kazuo Hirai’s statement that Sony would only offer premium product experiences. The Xperia Z, ZL & Tablet Z epitomise this approach, and I find it disheartening that they could so quickly change their minds to once again go after the low end of the market. Successful mobile brands (read: Apple & Samsung) form a product strategy and stick to it year after year. Their customers know what to expect and that leads to brand loyalty. I know that this blog is filled with Sony diehards (like me) but there just aren’t enough of us to affect Sony’s bottom line. We need the world to sit up and notice Sony as a maker of premium products once again, and the Xperia Z & Tablet Z were finally bringing some serious & positive attention to the brand. Stick to your guns, Sony.

  • Cheng

    Yesterday, my wife told me that she saw a Xperia Z TVC, which is actually the 1st time I heard they were broadcasting TVC’s here in China. I also see more and more out-of-home advertising in metro’s etc, which is a good thing. i get the feeling this year they are really working hard to focus on their premium Xperia Z. I like that. Save the money of releasing any more models this year (except ZL, E etc.) and keep it up using money for more promotion and marketing like Apple and Samsung. This way they will succeed in 2013 and get at least 3rd place or even 2nd in 2014~~~

  • DragonClaw

    That’s because people of US amuse themselves with devices from Apple.

  • japs

    and the once copycat (now reinvented) samsung.

  • IMO, Sony have to make Xperia series for mid and premium level. And for entry-level or low-end, Sony have to create another variant, not as Xperia.

  • Have a few flagship & iconic models to re-create their branding. Once they have the branding power again in the smartphone segment, they can sell anything at any level. They should really concentrate on battery longevity, if it can last 3 days without charging with moderate use, they’d kill other smartphones for sure as this is where smartphones shine the least as compared to feature phones. They just need a few anchor products.That’s how Nokia did it, everyone wanted a Nokia when N95 was the ultimate flagship. Those who can’t afford an N95 would go for the next best thing which would still be a Nokia.

  • Personally I think Xperia should be the brand name that everyone wants in the smartphone market. Re-naming the entry level phones will fragment the branding which I think will not do Sony any good. Perhaps some model naming convention would help differentiate between the flagship and entry level devices

  • phillip

    I think there is a market for middle or low end phones. there are many people are not willing spend money as much as a laptop price to buy a phone. so if sony can distinguish itself from others then low end phones will be theirs as people who buy low end phones usually are not techlovers, they are likely to choose phones by appearance which sony is really good at. however, there is also a disadvantage there is that when customer get a low end phone and it doesnt go well then they may think Sony phone is not good rather than thinking the particular phone he get is not good. So I think the safe idea is to develop another new line then keep Xperia the high or middle end. like if poeple buy a toyota and dosent go well, they are unlikely to think that lexus is not good too although they belong to the same company

  • hans

    The sales manager of Sony and the CEO does :)

  • I have an Xperia and the way it interacts with my Sony Bravia TV is the dogs doo daas. Sony is doing the right things slow and sure they will get their.

  • Third????? I thought first is what Sony was aiming for.

  • qu?c ng?

    but the truth is clearly that Android OS can not takes Sony to the Top

  • considering sony line up, it seems realistic target. just like samsung need 2-3 years since joining android team to dominate smartphone market.

  • that will be good to since sony try to develop firefox os.. for low end smartphone it’ll be good choice..

  • Ben-Amie Lim


  • LancerEX

    Sony should make 1 powerful phone for an entry level price. Just like the Xperia U, it was the best among the entry level phones last year (the lack of microSD slot was somewhat like a dealbreaker for some though) then focus on mid to higher end phones. :D

    2-3 mid > high end phones and 1 powerful entry level phone every year. :D

  • Pingback: Sony Targets Third Place In The Global Smartphone Market | EASTECONOMIST()

  • combination of premium, medium and low end models is a must for a Sony Mobile global success

  • fried_egg

    similar burnt earth plan to nokia (scrap old platform, go upmarket, reaffirm quality image then build new lower end models). BUT for Sony to go third they have to be global and they have to get their handsets pushed by the networks, they are failing to do that in the USA and they have failed to get the Z sold by EE (Orange etc in UK – they are still saying they will not stock it in their own stores).

  • what they need is to do is flood the market with so many advertisements , first build a phone that can make samsung to shame, and then after becoming the most premium company build the as many lowend and midrange as you can :)

  • kedar

    Sony will loose customers
    not releasing jb for u and sola.

  • jjokbari525828

    would happily kick your face in and cut it to ribbons. Or just cut your windpipe, and let you choke on your own blood

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