March 4, 2013 10:33am
Sony has ambitious goals for this calendar year: release a new PlayStation console; reinvigorate its Vita mobile gaming platform; push OLED TVs into the mainstream; get customers comfortable with 4K content; sell Android tablets to an increasingly skeptical market; and, perhaps most notably, become the number three smartphone OEM in the world.
Towards the end of last year, Sony sat precariously in a number four position, ahead of China’s ZTE but behind Huawei, Apple and Samsung, the latter two companies combining for more than half of worldwide smartphone sales. Sony wants to move ahead of Huawei, likely by introducing a bevy of low- and mid-range devices into developing markets, and by releasing competitive high-margin products like the Xperia Z.
But Sony’s choices are often baffling, especially when compared to its nearest competition. The company often pushes “the best of Sony” aspect of all its products — mobile Bravia engine, Walkman player, PlayStation Mobile — but then makes baffling choices like releasing a separate build of its flagship Xperia Z device in North America.
Sony has enormous potential to be a true player in the Android market — the Xperia Z design is inspired, and its hardware, while already slightly dated, should be enough to compete with the big boys — but the Japanese company needs to worry less about maintaining a premium brand image and focus on making truly superior products.