Sony may have only broke through into thephone market shortly after the turn of the century, but the Japanese manufacturer quicklyrose to the top with products that redefined the way we use our smartphones. An early period of innovation thrust the companyinto the limelight as it offered a credible alternative to handsets from then-leadersRIM, Nokia, and Motorola. However, like many of the OEMs of that era,the company failed to respond to the threat from the Apple's iPhone when it launched in2007, and it has now become a bit-part player in the ever-competitive mobile industry.
Many of the giants from that era have nowsold up and moved to pastures new, like LG but Sony retains the fight with its currentrange of Xperia handsets. Earlier this week, Sony announced their latestflagships headlined by the Xperia 1 III that offers some features that we have never seenon any smartphone to date like a 4k display with a 120Hz refresh rate, variable opticalzoom lens, front stereo speakers with 3D spatial audio, and a powerful camera. It also features a headphone jack and microSDcard slot, both of which are a rarity these days, especially among flagship devices.
Overall, the Sony Xperia 1 III looks to bean incredible phone that could be worth its sure-to-be-high price. However, the phone appeals to a pretty nicheaudience and that's exactly what we are going to discuss today that Sony has this new strategywhere, unlike Samsung and Apple, they don't want to appeal to everyone but instead hasniched down their target audience to creative folks, audiophiles, and gamers.
So can Sony actually survive with this strategyin the mobile industry and not end up like LG? Well, we have some data to say that this strategyis actually working in favor of Sony. You see much like LG, Sony has been losingmoney for years, billions of dollars over the span of few years. But unlike LG, Sony actually made profitslast year and keep making profits.
Their strategy to stick mainly to flagshipphones resulted in an increase in the average selling price of their phones and with therestructure in their management, Sony did what no one expected them to do at this stagewhen former big players like HTC, LG, Nokia are either shutting their businesses downor reporting huge losses, Sony was able to turn their mobile division back into profitsagain. But I think Sony can do more. Yes, Sony has its work cut out, and Persuadingpeople to buy a Sony phone again is going to be tough.
But Sony only needs to do a few things betterto really succeed. The first is to let people actually buy theirphones! I mean who will wait 3 months for a phonethat is announced in mid-April and starts selling end of July??? Maybe 10% of most hardcore Sony fans! But for anybody else, by July people willsimply forget it. The second is of course about marketing andletting people know that they exist.
Making great phones isn’t enough if youcan’t get enough people to try them. If I tell people about Sony phones peopleare usually like, Sony makes phones? Get the word out there Sony. Third, In the U.S., Sony’s lack of successwith smartphones is easy to explain: it never formed meaningful or long-lasting partnershipswith the big carriers. Even now, with unlocked phones becoming morepopular, it’s important to have a presence in carrier stores if you want to be a bigplayer.
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