Sony CEO Kaz Hirai reaffirms commitment to smartphones

by XB on 17th January 2018

in News


Sony Mobile’s appetite for its smartphone business is often questioned. Sony has plenty of loyal fans that want to see the company deliver great mobile products, but in recent years volumes have shrunk rather than grown. This has led to rumours, that Sony might just shutter its mobile operations if things don’t turn around.

This is unlikely to be the case according to Sony CEO Kaz Hirai, who doesn’t believe Sony Mobile should throw in the towel according to an interview with The Guardian. Kaz says that they need to be in smartphones, otherwise it “won’t have the opportunity to play in the next paradigm shift” in the communication space. Judging by the quotes, it sounds like Kaz is looking at what is beyond smartphones, although no one really knows exactly what that is right now.

Sony CEO Kaz Hirai on smartphones

“The reason we’re doing that is not because we think smartphones are the future, but because we have to have some devices connected to a network in order to communicate. If we get out of the [communications] space, we won’t have the opportunity to play in the next paradigm shift.

“It’s not about the smartphones of today; it’s more about looking beyond smartphones – at what are we going to be doing – and to be a player in this space; ideally to be a leader. For that strategic reason, I want to make sure we stay, not in the smartphone business, per se, but in the communications business.”

Via The Guardian.

  • Drelkag

    Good enough reason for me.

  • There’s a big difference between being committed to making smartphones for making sake, and making smartphones people want to buy.

    Sony phones are in recent years a laughing stock. Sony isn’t learning and improving. They’re just stuck in their own shells and unwilling to innovate anymore in the smartphone department

  • mixedfish

    Yes so little innovation in their unique finger print scanner, 4K screen, Google shared LDAC codec, 1000fps video etc etc

    Sure they don’t have gimmicky wow curved screens, but let’s not confuse genuinely solid phones with phones that you would like to buy.

  • Harry Rogerich Carnecer Relamp

    So they must prove it what they say

  • So0o

    Sony… you need more marketing… like samsung.. apple… even Lg…or huawei… this is the secret…

  • Night Guy

    “communication business”, no wonder they doesnt really improve their camera.

  • Ryan

    yeA…. thats why LG is on the verge of shutting down the mobile division…..heavy losses

  • Ridzan

    Ur right CEO Sony… Xperia not just sony mobile product… Xperia is the greatest products with another sony products to grow-up sony brand in market. That mean, in 2018 until one thousand year, sony brand still stay in world market. Like “sony make believe”

  • Warren Chang

    i wish sony showed more innovation in connectivity on their recent products, since x performance, no mhl, no video out, there previously had mhl or micro hdmi, on the other hand, rivals such as samsung expanded on what sony previously innovated, dex is an improved version of sony xperia tx and tx dock dk22 or sony ion dock dk20, even new comer, razar innovated with a new laptop phone combi dock which is an improvement of padphone

  • Gregory See

    Price tag – overpriced (even with a crap Mediatek processor).
    Update – Fast but ungenerous (Update comes with featureless goodies even with 7.1.1 there is no long press app shortcuts and night mode and yet Sony dares to proclaim that was a new features on 8.0).
    Waterproof – Now Sony is not the only company that delivers water resistant smartphones!
    Security Patches – Punctual release but only for the X Series (Whilst its rival Samsung still delivering patches to their older flagships).
    Personally I don’t see any valid reason on why Z3 and Z5 Series can’t be promise with monthly security patches.
    Wake up Sony!

  • Alvin

    Sony is slowly gaining controls on smartphone business, the loss is decreased (they earned profit in Q3 2017), I believe they’ll earn a lot of profit and increased revenue this year. The same thing can’t be said for LG, though, they’re losing every quarter.

  • Ryan

    yea man …. i cant wait to see what they gonna unveil at MWC…. Its gonna be my new phone if it is anything like the rumors about XZ Pro…. I own the XZ …

  • Alvin

    Curved screen, bezel-less design, and ~80% screen-to-body ratio are some of the key things people are concerned about phones these days. Sony has nothing there, so people called Sony phones ugly back then.

    Let’s just wait for MWC, I believe they’ll unveil something great, at least for Sony fans (it could be a killer phone).

  • nekoneko

    It’s a shame because the 3 features listed is exactly what I don’t want. The curved screen makes finding screen protectors a pain (wish the X is fully flat, gosh). The bezels lets me play games like imas without worrying about mis-touches. I don’t mind a tad smaller bezels but nothing like like new iphone or galaxy please..

    It’s a shame because I think Sony actually have good reasoning behind their features, but industry trend is going the other way (and sometimes it’s the tech reviewers not bothering to look into the UX aspect). Like the often criticized volume button placement, when it’s actually perfect for people who hold it in the left hand like me. I can understand people wanting something that they want like bezelless and such… but it’s not because Sony doesn’t innovate, they actually have their reasons.

  • 3_nity

    Grumbler!

  • Vjekoslav Andric

    Sony is today that unpopular geek…that invents and showcases a teleportation device,
    But almost nobody cares cause there is Brad Pitt and Angelina sharing their portrait mode photos with autograms on the other side of the hall.

  • Warren Chang

    they need a walkman phone for the audiophile, similar to onkyo granbeat dp-cmx1, as their 2016/17/18 walkman are not android based ( has other advantages), an flagship walkman phone with snapdragon 835/845 would cover the market, balanced output 4.4mm and 3.5mm unbalanced, separate power, os con capacitors, ldac, bluetooth 5.0, aptx hd,

    even better if they create a padfone dock (hybrid tablet)

  • Itsarapong Intoum

    4.4mm on phone ? The battery wound’t last long with that :D

    I use PHA-2a and it’s really hot while using 4.4mm connector.

  • Khillo81

    Long-press app shortcuts are enabled on 7.1.1…

  • Vjekoslav Andric

    Kaz Hirai seems to be a visionaire, not a profiteer. But history shows visionaires tend to be rewarded by success only if reasonable in buissness and social skills.
    Kaz seems to be the rewarded one, as Sony is regaining its old glory and strength under his helm…
    He seems not interested or concerned about sales or market share of the mobile division, but only about mobile innovation people will love, not only like, that is going towards some next paradigm shift in communication tech, that he envisions.
    I really like the guys philosophy approach.
    Hope he is right about this looking beyond smartphones in mobile and communications.

  • Talos the Robot

    People who are concerned about curved screens, bezel-less design etc. after they get there they complain about the battery life on their smartphones and force their screens to lower resolution, disable many useful apps, and almost they use their phone only for making calls like any cheap feature phone.
    What’s the purpose to pay a lot for a device that you will never use as you expected to?
    It’s like showing off and driving a Ferrari, powered by a Fiat 500 engine.

  • Khillo81

    Plus, they are sporting a phone with a broken screen after a month of having the phone. Also, don’t forget lowering the brightness setting on their phones until you can barely read what’s on the screen

  • Phat-t

    Look at that face! Kaz needs his own emoji

  • Michael Adu-Yeboah

    Not really, sony does not just follow trend, they innovate especially take a look at the current Razer phone that people seem to be smiles about, is all the look of Xperia z5 but with more power definately!..You see sony is prevented from using some of their wow innovation because of certain business groups they joined that nclude Apple and a few others. Those legal challenges make them difficult to implement certain technologies….It will rather be sad for sony to follow, eg. Introducing hybrid dual sim cards, removing FM radio, removing Offline Answering machine, removing small apps( this could have been made better, it makes more sense than dual screen)..they even had a phone where a pencil could be used comfortably as a stylus..others on an on. what sony needs to do is simply put a put more power on phone designs like the z2 or z5, increase screen size and improve camera software.

  • Actman
  • theskig

    Removing all those features is disappointing. That’s why I still have a Z5 Premium Dual.

  • theskig

    Bravo Kaz!

  • Khillo81

    One link broken and the other two are about the Z1 which was released in 2013… so good job staying current, boy. And btw, I had the Z1 and dropped it countless times on concrete floors; not once did I see a crack.

  • Michael Adu-Yeboah

    hahaha,seems I feel the same using my sony, power and useful but everyone is looking at jolie

  • Michael Adu-Yeboah

    Yes! I have my xperia z5 dual, hope they do not copy Apple and send a kill switch!, because that z5 series only needed a future, but so far none have the complete future!!!!!!! If the produce that we will all buy!!!!! shame on the X series(half backed kids). Love SONY tho

  • Actman

    Yea if only your Z1 was special superbly made junior. Other complainants phone were made by those Chinese manufacturers who hides behind Sony’s trademark. Sometimes it is totally pointless to argue with a flunkey.

  • Khillo81

    It seems you enjoy getting spanked, boy. First of all learn to write and then come back here. Given your mental capacity, I would probably not live to see the day that happens. But I’ll let the coming generations know and they’ll be waiting for you. Until then, enjoy evolving…

  • Actman

    Oooo yea? Then why didn’t my Z5 has this feature specifically? When I click on the settings – about phone – android tm version – it reads 7.1.1. Do you mind to teach me on how to access onto it officially? Please be more educated junior! I don’t see any substance in your comment! Don’t waste time posting rubbish to defend something which undefendable either!

  • Khillo81

    Because you’re an idiot, the phone detects that and shuts down certain features. It’s just so that you don’t hurt yourself, pretty considerate of the phone really

  • Actman

    So who shuts down those features?

  • Just install the latest Home App and you´ll get it!

  • Khillo81

    The phone itself. It has a sensor built in that gets activated the moment you place your finger on the power button

  • Actman

    If you make personal attacks, you are only showing your low moral education. It is something you shouldn’t be proud of. I like truth and let’s get the facts straight junior!

  • Actman

    The phone itself. It has a sensor built in that gets activated the moment you place your finger on the power button > what are you talking about here? Do you understand what our point is?

    Long-press app shortcuts are enabled on 7.1.1… the phone detects that and shuts down certain features. It’s just so that you don’t hurt yourself, pretty considerate of the phone really > My question is who shuts down this feature? (long press app shortcuts in case you don’t really understand)

  • Geesh, and you miss the entire point. 4K screen on a phone is a Gimmick! 1000fps processed with what software?

    Google Pixel and Apple iPhones don’t have whatever hardware prowess Sony does. In fact these companies use Sony camera hardwares, yet let’s take a walk on the market and see what smartphones take the BEST photographs.

    No one cares about curved screens. Sony has some of the best LCD displays. The triluminous with x-reality engine is heaven-sent. Imagine that gorgeousness on a screen ratio as the Galaxy S8?

    What I would like to buy, is what people buy, and what Samsung makes, and makes samsung richer every year, and makes Sony lose every year in their smartphones department

  • Wooty

    Typical Xperia Defender – Flash different region firmware, install those apks manually. Why need it when Xperia can provide it via updates on the first place? What is smartphone? It makes our life easier thus more conveniently usage. By flashing and install something manually would only make things more complicated! Why not ask their grandparents to flash those firmware manually?

  • Wooty

    Not to mention those fake waterproof controversies!

  • Actman

    The phone itself. It has a sensor built in that gets activated the moment you place your finger on the power button > what are you talking about here? Do you understand what our point is?

    Long-press app shortcuts are enabled on 7.1.1… the phone detects that and shuts down certain features. It’s just so that you don’t hurt yourself, pretty considerate of the phone really > My question is who shuts down this feature? (long press app shortcuts in case you don’t really understand)

  • AllanKafka

    No more MHL/HDMI video out is absurd. They should have kept it.

  • fried_egg

    Sony needs to have skin in the game so that there is always a customer for it’s components. Too many parts makers become too dependent on single 3rd party customers (such as the affect Apple has had on several companies in the last few years where they suddenly announce they will no longer be using their component. Sony knows that too well from when Nintendo ruled the 90s and companies like Sharp hawked their latest components to Nintendo with “first rights” to use due to Nintendo’s scale & demand. The only issue, how others seem to be able to write firmware/software that get better results out of Sony parts than Sony does.

  • fried_egg

    He had an entire film… just don’t mention Sony Movies Emoji to his face as the takings were terrible

  • Ther9reatSkull

    • App shortcuts: it is already enabled in 7.1.1 you are using old Xperia Home version go and enter Xperia Home open BETA from here: https://goo.gl/Nd5r4p
    (Or simply install Apks through ApkMirror)

    BTW almost every Sony app has BETA versions .

    • Night Mode: It is Google’s rules not Sony it was available in 7.0 and we could enabled it via a simple app in playstore but in 7.1.1 they closed that trick (although I was able to enable it myself through some simple coding edits in framework-res, I am thinking to develop an Xposed module for this) .

    So Sony developers DON’T remove stock android features even face unlock is available through smart lock.

  • Warren Chang

    I note that onkyo dp-cmx 1 on balanced 2.5mm battery life is still pretty OK, my friend gets around 6 to 7 hours playback with flac files, better than astell and kern daps which is pretty bad

  • Warren Chang

    Yes, they should, even better create no lag micro hdmi like nvidea shield

  • Itsarapong Intoum

    I guess 2.5mm should be fine. But 4.4mm is just too much.

    I guess I don’t have to mention about the thickness…

  • sm1udonno

    glass back design?

  • RockStar2005

    The new midranger XA series phones for 2018 have Snapdragon 630 chips in them, NOT MediaTek. Sony also made these phones with a BIGGER screen (well XA2 vs. XA1 is bigger), 4 GBs of RAM, 1080p instead of 720p, more expensive metal body vs. plastic/metal with sweet rounded edges, Oreo out of the box, improved camera with OIS (dual camera on front now!), and BIGGER batteries too. Also has MicroSD card slot and headphone jack ftw! They are even giving them fingerprint sensors (on the back) for the first time ever! And I think $350 is pretty fair for the XA.

    See specs for XA2 Ultra, which costs only $100 more:
    https://www.gsmarena.com/sony_xperia_xa2_ultra-8985.php

    Quite impressive if you ask me. I only wish they’d go 18:9, but maybe next time?

    http://www.androidguys.com/2018/01/15/whats-new-sony-xperia-xa1-ultra-vs-sony-xperia-xa2-ultra/

  • azzido

    Good to know I will still have a smartphones to buy :)

  • azzido

    Yes, this year mid rangers are good, I only hate fingerprint scanner on the back.

    Looking forward into flagships.

  • RockStar2005

    But you know what? By putting it on the back, Sony doesn’t have to pay HP that licensing fee in the U.S. to put it on the side, therefore the U.S. versions from what I can tell will be sold with FUNCTIONING FS! So honestly I’m even hoping they do the same thing on the flagships as well. I have the LG V30 right now and I’m used to it being on the side. Also, by having it on back, they can make better eliminate the bezels. Note that the previous midrangers had NO bezels vs. the previous flagships for that very reason.

  • hansip

    Yeah, the milc side does improve though.. So maybe that’s why..

  • AllanKafka

    Would it be better than the USB-C Displayport connection you can have with the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+/Note8?

  • Battal

    So we would have to wait Sony until it get SERIOUS in the next “paradigm shift”!

  • Warren Chang

    sony don’t really live in the past, nintendo for the past 25 years have been partially living in the past, while n64 was moderately successful, ps1 outsold it by 3 times (100 mil), gamecube was partial failure (ps2 outsold it by 6 times), wii was successful sold 100 mil until 2011, ps3 was also successful over longer period at 86 mil until 2015, wii u was failure cos nintendo got cocky, but switch seems to be sucessful.

    with sony xperia, they don’t live in the past, but they have a few innovations and unique features, (960fps, noise cancellation as standard, ldac, special ALKALEIDO metal alloy,) but these feature have not been crowd pleasers

  • Warren Chang

    i hope this is the case, xperia for the last 2 years have been rather stopgap in new innovation, the xperia department should re-invent themselves like what the the high end walkman department has done, pushing the envelope rather than following the crowd, ie, bezelless design

  • Gregory See

    Yea. However this feature was mysteriously missing on Sony devices. Weird!

  • Gregory See

    What I stated earlier was an actuality assertion. Matter of fact 7.1.1 update doesn’t come with long press app shortcuts. Do you agree? I know it can be installed by apk, but why on earth should we help ourselves with this when Sony can provide it at the very beginning? Do you agree that Sony is lack of swiftness?

  • Gregory See

    I was mentioning those previous devices running on Mediatek processors! Btw have XA2 family had officially launched didn’t they? Why should I point my finger to a yet to release devices?

  • RockStar2005
  • fried_egg

    I am afraid you don’t seem to have understood what I said. It was to do with the corporate history of Nintendo (David Sheff’s “Game Over” was a good book for the 90s position) and Sony was a partner then a competitor who used that knowledge to their advantage (especially in recruiting Namco). Apple is in the same position Nintendo was now and specifically referencing Wolfson, Dialog & Imagination Tech when Apple switched supplier. So knowing how a dominant player like Apple & Nintendo had all the component makers desperate to supply products to, they often gave them first look at their latest items… in Sharp’s case (long before it became a part of Foxxcon and they were a components & consumer electrics leader) Sharp even took their latest components to Nintendo to see if Nintendo wanted them exclusively before even offering them to their own product designers to use in their own products). That is the business knowledge Sony will have been using, not “living in the past” which by the way is one of the things Sony did do as it they suffered their own “Kodak” moment of a shift from CRT technologies (Trinitron) & hifi & video tech that they stuck to well past it’s end of life and had failed to budget for in the closing of factories and the shift to an outsouced “Foxxcon” type strategy that Apple was making work so well for them.

  • Kaarthikeyan Swaminathan

    I still use the z5, Long press app is part of the xperia home launcher and has been on z5 for almost 3 months.
    I am on version 11.2.A.0.6. Check if you have the Home version 11.X.X.X

  • I don’t care what others think, Sony is still the phone for me. When you see others using iPhone and Samsung, and YOU stand out amongst the rest, that makes you feel different and something else. Sony’s phone has always been about quality and standard, and with their recent contribution towards faster updates, this makes them stand out among the rest. So you keep your shit together and keep producing quality phones Sony, I’ll root for you even if I am 6 feet below. Stay focus and you shall prevail.

  • johala02

    I think the Sony Mobile Divison are on the right direction. The 3 models they showed up on the CES event was nice improvments from the previous generations. Even talked about in Android central podcast.
    So if they can follow up that with a great flagship device I suppose Sony can get some tractions in mobile after all.

  • azzido

    if they want to start selling it in the us they can do this, but they can stop selling it in the europe at the same time.

    I will definitely NOT but any phone with fingerprint on the back.
    That’s the worse position. Alternatively they can finally move it to screen.

  • RockStar2005

    Well we’ll see what happens. By 2019 it’s very possible that Sony Mobile will be switching to on-screen FS too. For me, I’d just rather it worked than it didn’t. I could just get int’l one too but typically those won’t have T-Mobile VoLTE-certification, which means I DON’T get optimal service with T-Mobile. So would only wanna get U.S. version IF they VoLTE-certify it with T-Mobile like they did on the XZ1 Compact.

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  • klowik

    What Sony needs is a good designer..it’s easy to beat Samsung if Sony came up with bezelless phone first..just like many of the car companies, a design change could increase sales. Honda, Audi are examples.

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