Sony - A Brand With a Future in Mobile?
We read at the end of last week that Sony is to end its 10 year partnership with Ericsson and take full control of that mobile business. The Telegraph this week stated that nearly half of the British public own a smartphone but this is Android dominated (50%, vs Apple 18.5%) and within the Android market it's just Samsung and HTC as the serious players. Sony Ericsson share fell from 25% last year to 8.5% this year. It is clear Sony has an upward struggle if their buyout is approved in January.
But there is hope...
We can't write off Sony, and I am going to explain why I think they have the potential to become the most important player on the market. Let me know if you agree of disagree in the comments...
Sony can make some beautiful hardware. Take the Sony Vaio Z for example. Joanna's review makes it clear that the hardware is great, a carbon fibre and metal chassis and some great design choices. Whatever you make of the Sony Vaio range, I think it's hard to argue that outside of Apple they make some of the nicest looking laptop designs. Sony design is certainly not limited to laptops. So we can start to imagine Sony building a great looking mobile.
Walkman and Audio
Sony was so late responding to the iPod in any serious capacity it is easy to forget they invented the portable audio market. It's also overlooked that the current generation of Sony Walkman is actually very good indeed. The S-Master digital amplifier is really top notch and delivers sound quality that beats basically everything else out there. With HTC bundling Beats headphones Sony has some incredible headphones of its own that it could bundle with a potential Sony phone. So now picture this great looking Sony phone with great audio quality and great bundled headphones.
PlayStation and Gaming
Okay, we have the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play but it was hardly the Sony PlayStation phone we were hoping for. I think we all know why; we went from a feature phone based company where Sony and Ericsson were brining equal parts to the table and moved to a smartphone company where Sony had a lot more to offer. Why would a sane company readily hand over its precious value and share with another. PlayStation Suite on Android is currently pretty empty. A pure Sony device with a chip such as Nvidia Tegra 3 could offer PlayStation Vita style performance. So add to our awesome looking Walkman phone, a PlayStation experience which Sony can commit to.
OLED, Bravia, Display and Camera
Sony has great OLED capabilities. The Walkman I posted an image of above has an OLED screen, the PlayStation Vita has an OLED screen and so on. Also, Bravia is a decent engine - Vlad's review of the Xperia Arc suggested that the Bravia engine was doing something pretty decent. And of course the Exmor sensor, Sony make perhaps the best mobile sensors out there. So now we have a great looking, Walkman enabled, PlayStation capable, OLED phone with a killer camera.
Sony is now pretty experienced with using Android by itself. The Sony tablets are Honeycomb and their new Walkman range is based on Android too. So I think to our mix of a great looking, Walkman, PlayStation, OLED, Camera phone we can have Android and its vast ecosystem.
Finally, last but not least, we have Sony content. Sony have Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited. They own a massive record label a massive film (movie) studio. It's easy to see how they can bring content to this potential device.
I am not delusional. Sony has a LONG way to go to pull off the ultimate phone, but they have the potential. Sony seem to be doing more sensible things every day. They are integrating their company better than ever and this purchase of Ericsson's share of the Sony Ericsson venture is only going to strengthen things further.
In a years time we could be looking at Sony as creating the best phones on the market. On the other hand, we could be laughing at yet more wasted opportunities.