Sony will assume full control over the Sony-Ericsson joint venture that lasted a decade -- pretty good going -- but which now puts the reins firmly in the Japanese company's hands.
Going the Smartphone Way
Sony has confirmed that it will buy Ericsson out of the mobile phone joint venture for just over a billion euros (a little under US $1.5 billion). That leaves Ericsson to go back to its wireless and telco business, and for Sony to run the smartphone show.
Sony has announced plans to concentrate only on smartphones, differing from Nokia's approach of a wider strategy, announced yesterday with its Asha range of phones. So, it looks likely that Nokia might achieve brand domination in the low-margin feature phone market, while the high-end smartphone space becomes evermore crowded with bands of products aimed at most budgets.
Sony's Brands to the Fore
The deal means that Sony will be able to create its ideal line of phones to integrate with PlayStation games consoles, Bravia HDTVs and media tablets, without the competing needs of Ericsson. Improved integration would see content from one phone be available to other devices, movies and TV shows can be streamed to TV sets and so on.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play model pictured above was about as close as Sony got to combining its brands, but the phone with game-specific controls lacks the PlayStation branding that might have given it wider appeal. Content for it has been slow in coming and it's technology is rapidly being out-paced by newer phones.
All of Sony's Xperia phones run the Android operating system, and there is little likelihood of them moving to another OS. Will this move see Sony's brand rise up the smartphone rankings? That's down to buyers, who already have a wide choice of devices to pick from. So, what can an all-Sony device offer to differentiate from the leading Samsung and Apple models?