Sony Mobile unveiled its new flagship device, the Xperia Z, at the 2013 International CES event this week, in what is set to be an important year for the recovering handset maker.
The smartphone has an impressive feature set – quadcore processor, 5-inch full HD display, 13 megapixel camera and LTE – and is also said to “bring the best of Sony’s unique technology, content, design and connectivity to deliver rich user experiences”.
It is set to provide a rival for Samsung’s as-yet unannounced Galaxy S III successor and HTC’s anticipated new flagship device.
While Sony Mobile has not had the same amount of attention as some of its Android peers, and also rivals such as Nokia and RIM, the company has seen some signs of success in recent months.
For example, it shipped 8.8 million smartphones in the quarter to 30 September 2012, up from 7.4 million in the prior sequential period.
According to analyst firm Canalys, this put it into third place in the market in Q3, ahead of HTC and RIM, as well as LG, Nokia, ZTE, Lenovo and Huawei.
With it now being almost twelve months since Ericsson was bought-out of the partnership, it is reasonable to expect new devices to be announced which were conceived under the steerage of its sole parent.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Steve Walker, CMO of the device company, noted that the closer relationship with Sony has enabled it to create new products and win market share.
And the company does have one strength that larger smartphone rivals Apple and Samsung share, but which its rivals by-and-large do not – brand.
Sony is a bona fide consumer electronics and entertainment giant, which could prove useful attributes in bolstering its smartphone position.
But the company is not without its challenges. During 2012, it underwent significant restructuring, with Sony announcing plans to cut its mobile workforce by 15 percent by the end of March 2014.
And while the company is strong in APAC and EMEA, and especially in Sony’s home market of Japan, it has a weak position in North America, according to Canalys.