Jan 13 AT 7:25 PM Sean Riley 11 Comments

Sony considers sale of mobile division as losses mount

image Sony Z Ultra GPe Android 5.0

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?

Source: Reuters

Sean has been with Android and Me for over 8 years and covering mobile for the last 9. He occasionally muses about gadgets and tech outside of the Android universe at Techgasms.

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  • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com DroidSamurai

    Seriously, I can understand why they sold the PC business, but selling the mobile device business? Their TV business is going down as well. What do they have remain in their toolbox? Playstation — do they really expect that 10 years from now, the console market will still be there?

    I can only call it the beginning of death of this once monster electronic enterprise.

    • http://www.technogasms.com Sean Riley

      The two divisions that they are hanging their hats on right now are Playstation and their camera modules.

  • Bart

    Ah, now with this story, I think I’m finally beginning to see the REAL and WHOLE story. As much as the pundits have taken their pot shots at Samsung, the real story is that the whole industry is getting hit. Market saturation has gotten such that it is impossible to expect the charts to continue showing growth. It is now a leveling and holding of whatever market-share these companies can grab. Now, I know some with argue that the newer companies that are undercutting the established ones with cheaper products disprove my musings, but actually, they prove it. In a few years people will become more acquainted with those companies and their products. Just like all other companies, a love/hate relationship will grow. Time will tell what the market can truly bear.

  • Surya O.S

    I must say, I might have had a good experience with Sony or Sony Ericsson in the past. But, I am still using them. I got myself Xperia ZL 2 years ago, and I love it even though it is very fragile. The Update OTA is not good and the battery is not as tough as other brands. However, the UI, the design, and update support kept me from switching. If Sony quits the smartphone business, I’ll be very sad. I am expecting they will be one of the leader for the future Internet of Things. Please try to use other business strategies to bounce back!!

  • hp420

    How about Sony starts paying attention to the North American market? It’s just plain stupid to consider selling off an entire branch of such a huge electronics mega-giant without even exploring an entire segment of the market. You wonder why the two devices they offer almost exclusively through AT&T every 6 months don’t sell??? Because they sell for north of $700 every single time, and there are a whopping two to choose from….sometimes only one. Start making devices affordable and accessible and people will have the opportunity to buy them. Sell a device for an amount well out of people’s price range, and to a very limited amount of the market, and obviously sales will take a hit. That’s just common sense!! On top of all this, when we finally do get Sony devices here, they are already 3-6 months old, and Sony is already preparing to unveil their next generation. Seriously, this entire marketing strategy they have seems to tell the world “we want to fail….just let us die, please”

    I’ll make Sony a promise…..offer me a device I can actually get my hands on for a competitive price with the rest of the US market, and I promise I’ll buy one. I don’t know one person who is going to jump through hoops, switch carriers, and pay 3x what they should just to get a device when they could stay with the company they have and save a ton of cash while getting a device that’s almost or even just as good as an Xperia….especially when 75% of the country wouldn’t even know who makes Xperia devices if asked.

  • yahya sheikh

    sony conctatadad demand

  • Quorbach

    If they could stop to release 2 Xperia Z per year I’d bet they spare some money on development.

  • renyo

    Oh my… If this truly is the end of Sony xperia, and possibly Sony itself, I better buy their phone…

  • Mb Baloch

    I needed sony xperia c3 dual d2502 android lollipop 5.0 give me please help me

  • Dirty Budha

    I was hoping for a Z4 Ultra to replacemy Note 3.

  • TruFactz

    My Beloved Sony. While I will admit, the last phone ive had was with the SE patnership, your phones did stand out, but its true, lack of marketing and less than sub par US presence, yeah, itll cripple you. With that being said fix those two things, im on board w/renyo and hp420, ill buy one. i was almost tempted to get the one currently at TMO, but i got the N4 cause of the bigger screen and faster specs, even w/me having a PS4 and all. If you do sell, make talks w/sammy, they need the waterproofing and what not, hey you already talking w/them having their TV’s do PSNow right out the box so……hey, minus well…..