Sony to Cut Smartphone Lineup, Developing New Electronic Paper Watch
Embattled Japanese supplier Sony said it will pare its smartphone lineup in a cost-cutting move and rely more on its profitable Playstation 4 and image sensor businesses to boost earnings in the next three years.
Hiroki Totoki, Sony mobile chief, said in remarks at an investors’ conference the vendor will tolerate even a 30 percent tumble in sales and a dip in market share in exchange for boosting its profits, according to a Reuters report.
“We’re not aiming for size or market share but better profits,” he said.
Nevertheless, Sony’s new three-year business plan calls for an increase in sales in key areas. For example, the vendor plans to leverage personalized TV and video and music services to boost sales in its video game division by 25 percent to some $13.6 billion. And, it wants to increase devices unit sales by up to 70 percent, banking on bumps in image sensor revenue for Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and from Chinese smartphone makers. Sony also plans to grow its entertainment unit’s sales by one-third, the company said.
With its Xperia mobile phone line, Sony reportedly is scrambling to find a more productive strategy and will disclose its plans sometime before the end of the first quarter, the Reuters report said.
Separately, Bloomberg reported that Sony is developing a watch made from a special electronic paper it could release as early as next year. The watch is the product of a new business unit formed by chief executive Kazuo Hirai to accelerate development of promising new technology.
According to the report, Sony’s watch will be constructed from a patented material that enables the entire surface of the device to operate as a display and to alter its appearance. The smartwatch isn’t intended to compete with more feature-rich, technologically-centric entries from Apple or even with Sony’s own smartwatch but instead will be oriented more towards style, sources told Bloomberg.
Hirai apparently is trying to resuscitate Sony’s long history of product innovation, a culture that has been chipped away by years of job cuts and cost-cutting, the report said.