Sony, the once indisputable ruler of the consumer tech space, has suffered a serious decline over the last decade. Last year saw the outright sale of the Vaio PC business and the decoupling of the TV business from Sony proper into a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Mobile was never precisely a dominant area for the company, unless you consider the Walkman to be mobile or you were a particularly diehard Clie fan, but in recent years it has been a significant weight around Sony’s neck. In the 3rd quarter of 2014 Sony recorded an “impairment charge” of $1.7 billion as a result of the diminished value of its mobile business.
All of this leads us to the report today from Reuters that Sony is ready to outright sell the mobile business or enter into a strategic partnership to help the flagging division. There are no offers on the table at the moment, but regardless of the failings of the Xperia brand it does seem that someone could turn its fortunes around.
We have often been impressed with the build quality and design of the Xperia line, however the software and a lack of advertising and strong carrier partnerships has kept Xperia devices as an afterthought in the US market. Overseas the low-end market has been cut out from under Sony by smaller competitors and driven it to compete on the high-end where Samsung, Apple and others have already staked claim to the majority of the mindshare.
Sony was also one of the first to the smartwatch market. However, questionable software and hardware left the Sony SmartWatch and SmartWatch 2 highly forgettable. They did pave the way for the Sony SmartWatch 3, which has garnered praise and is one of the most future proofed smartwatches out there with both GPS and WiFi built in. We’ll go ahead and bet that this isn’t sufficient to bring the division to profitability, regardless of how good it may be.
Do we have any Xperia fans out there that would hate to see Sony exit the smartphone market completely, or are you ready to let Sony exit mobile peacefully?