Let’s put the Jelly Bean update to one side for a moment, the Sony Xperia S, has not received an update of any kind since September last year. That is seven months without even a minor bug-fixing update. We don’t know why Sony has chosen to ignore last-years flagship handset, either intentionally or unintentionally, but the perception this gives isn’t a positive one.
One factor that can’t help is the sheer volume of phones that Sony Mobile has to develop for and maintain. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the more phones you release, the more thinly your resources are spread. Sony launched too many handsets last year in our view, over fifteen. Plus, when you factor in new flagships in the second half of the year (Xperia T and Xperia V), there’s perhaps no surprise that focus shifted on newer devices.
We imagine this continued this year in the lead up to the Xperia Z launch. At the end of the day, we can understand the business decision to focus software efforts on new handsets given that this is where the marketing dollars are spent.
The problem for Sony is that in this day and age, when people are buying a smartphone they expect a certain amount of support from the manufacturer. That demand becomes even more pertinent if a customer is spending extra for a flagship product. When people bought the Xperia S a year ago they expected Sony’s ear for at least twelve months.
Unfortunately, this didn’t happen and many Xperia S owners feel quite bitter about owning a flagship device that was quasi-abandoned after only six months of ownership. The pill has been even harder to swallow when handsets lower down the chain like the Xperia P has received updates, whilst the Xperia S has sat on the sidelines.
This frustration is currently being borne out in forums across the internet and also in our comments section, with many people venting about timing on the upcoming Jelly Bean update. Xperia S owners hope that the update will go a long way to fix bugs that people have faced but also to bring the up to date with newer Xperia handsets (at least on the software side).
Timing still remains a mystery and we’re not even going to guess when the update may arrive. We just hope that when it does arrive, Sony has given it the extra polish that all Xperia S users deserve.
We do wonder what kind of impact all of this has on brand perception. There is already a general assumption across technology sites that Sony is always late to the game when it comes to updates. As things stand, that can’t be argued against. For all the improvements the company made in 2011, it seems like it took step backwards last year.
We know there has probably been a lot going on behind the scenes with the move from Sony Ericsson to Sony Mobile, but people have long memories. Sony will need to re-earn trust for those that it has let down. We really hope that Sony has turned a corner this year and that the ambivalence that many Xperia S owners must be feeling, won’t happen again.
What is your view on this – are software updates a critical part of your decision making when choosing a smartphone? Does the frustration of seeing no Xperia S updates for months put you off the Sony Xperia brand? Would you consider buying another Xperia product or has this put you off? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.