Sony launches own-brand phones

Nick Dillon/Ovum
11 Jan 2012

Following the buyout by Sony of Ericsson’s half of its mobile handset joint venture, the Japanese consumer electronics company has launched the first mobile phones under its own brand in 10 years.

With the buyout still pending regulatory approval, this was a bold move by Sony but one Ovum believes the company needed to make. The launch of the own-branded smartphones marks the start of a new era for Sony, as it positions itself to battle with other multiscreen players in theincreasingly competitive and interlinked consumer electronics markets.

As we enter 2012, Ovum believes that it will become increasingly important for top-tier consumer electronics vendors to offer a complete portfolio, not only of devices, but also the services which run on them. Despite having many of these components in place, Sony now faces the challenge of knitting them together to create a compelling integrated offering – an area in which it has yet to excel.

Mobile phones are the last piece of multiscreen puzzle for Sony. By adding a wholly-owned mobile phone division to its PC, tablet, TV, and gaming product lines, Sony now has a true multiscreen offering, bringing it level with rivals Samsung, LG, and Apple.

This was an essential move for Sony. The stakes are getting higher in the consumer electronics market, as are the components required to play at the top. As highlighted in Ovum’s report The Connected and Extended Home: Key Player Positioning, being able to offer a consistent experience across all devices is a key component for successful multiscreen players, so the buyout is a key (if not overdue) move for Sony to ensure that it can fully own and control all types of connected devices.

The addition of mobile devices to Sony’s portfolio will be mutually beneficial for the mobile handset division and Sony’s other hardware divisions. Integration with other products, such as the ability to control an Xperia smartphone connected to a Sony TV with the TV’s remote control, and the ability to share content with Sony tablets, will not only increase the attractiveness of Xperia smartphones but will also increase the appeal of the Sony devices which the phone can connect to.

However, it is not only the integration with other Sony devices which will bring benefits to its smartphones. Sony is also able to bring technologies developed for other products into its smartphones to enhance them, such as the Bravia video engine from its TVs and the Playstation experience from its gaming devices.

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