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Improving smartphone sales and a weaker yen help Sony to $35 million quarterly profit

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Sony Make Believe STOCK
Sony Make Believe STOCK

It may not be quite the windfall profit we're used to seeing from Apple or Samsung, but Sony has kept its financials on the positive side of the ledger over the last financial quarter — owing primarily to "strong" smartphone sales and a favorable shift in currency exchange rates. In the three months between April and June of this year, Sony saw both a "significant increase in unit sales" of its Android smartphones and an improved average selling price per handset. That's at the heart of the company's improved profitability.

Sony's mobile division swings from loss to profit as Android fortunes improve

The company's camera division didn't do quite as well, with sales down 10 percent relative to the same period in 2012. Still, the imaging team brought in $82 million of Sony's operating income during the present quarter, so the segment remains an overall positive for the company's bottom line. Sony says it's shifting away from the rapidly diminishing point-and-shoot market and will introduce more models in its high-end RX range in search of greater profit margins in the future.

Expect more RX cameras as Sony moves its compacts into the high end

Sales in Sony's gaming division were essentially unchanged year-on-year, however the company registered a $149 million operating loss from the unit. The loss was attributed to increased research and development costs related to the PS4. The introduction of the new console can't seem to come soon enough for Sony, which saw shrinking sales of the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2 as well as its PSP portable console. Those were offset by better software sales and the aforementioned weakening of the yen to result in the same revenue for the gaming group as last year. But the need for fresh hardware to drive sales is evidently there.

For the year up to April 2014, Sony forecasts it'll earn roughly half a billion dollars in profit. Should those plans pan out, the company will have improved on its 2012-2013 fiscal performance by 16 percent and, perhaps more importantly, will have registered a second consecutive year of being in the black. Sony reiterates the need to turn its TV division around (though 4K TVs have apparently already had a positive impact), while underscoring the importance of smartphones to its continued wellbeing. At present, the mobile division is in buoyant health, with the Xperia A capturing "the number one market share for sales in Japan." Now it's a matter of bringing more of the same more regularly.