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Sony’s mobile business is shrinking out of existence

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Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

It may be time to start prewriting our Sony Mobile obituaries, as the latest earnings report from Sony indicates the company’s already tiny smartphone business has shrunk by almost half. In the quarter ending in July 2018, Sony managed to sell only 2 million mobile devices, down 1.4 million from the same period in the preceding year. Two million phones. I’m pretty sure Apple will have sold more in the time it takes me to write this note of Sony sorrow.

In its 2017 accounting year, Sony sold 13.5 million phones, and back in April its modest estimate for 2018 was 10 million, but now that’s been revised down to 9 million. Anticipating it will make only ¥610 billion ($5.49 billion) of mobile sales for the entire fiscal 2018, Sony is now in a close contest with HTC for the title of being the least relevant global Android device vendor. At least BlackBerry has its promise of uniquely secure phones and keyboards with actual, physical buttons on them. Sony’s signature mobile feature in recent times has been an insistence on shipping massive bezels for way too long.

The overall earnings report from Sony is much more upbeat, with most of its sub-divisions growing at a healthy rate, led by its PlayStation gaming group once again. Sony as a whole is in good financial health, but its chronically ailing mobile business may not last much longer.