Sony is getting back to longer smartphone release cycles – report

by: Jimmy WestenbergJanuary 26, 2015

sony xperia z3 review (18 of 26)

According to a report earlier today, Sony is working on extending their smartphones’ life cycles, specifically in the Taiwan market. Jonathan Lin, General Manager of Sony’s Taiwan branch, told reporters that on top of extending the lifetime of devices, the company is planning on shifting focus to mid-range and high-end devices.

Lin explained to the reporters:

Our current strategy is on how to extend product life cycle, for which we plan to offer more mobile content and new color phones.

Lin also mentioned that most Android phones fall to the wayside 3 to 6 months after their release, and the company is working to change that. Lin explains that Taiwan’s purple version of the Xperia Z2, which launched in May 2014, accounted for nearly 40% of the device’s sales in the country. So, the company is planning on limiting smartphone releases every year and gradually launching new color options to increase profits, at least in Taiwan.

We know that Lin told Taiwan reporters this information exclusively, but we could imagine this to be true for all areas of Sony’s mobile branch. We’ve already heard reports of Sony shrinking its smartphone line, cutting 1,000 jobs and reporting a loss of $1.7 billion last year, so we already know drastic changes are ahead.

In addition to the reports from Taiwan, the Xperia Blog has received new information regarding Sony’s plans not to release the upcoming Xperia Z4 at this year’s MWC 2015. The blog also entertains the idea of a Summer release for the handset, which, if true, would leave Sony’s presence very scarce for the trade show.

Only time will tell whether or not these reports are true, so in the mean time, take a look at our Sony Xperia Z4 rumor roundup! Do you think we’ll see the Z4 at MWC this year? And if Sony extends their device’s life cycles, how much do you think it will help the company?

  • Archie Bernardo


  • Jordan Ross

    They just need a Nexus contract, Sony makes really great phones and Google would cure all their usual shortcomings (software, updates, using standard protocols, widespread availability).

    • Konrad Fraczek

      I agree with you so much, I would love to see a sony nexus!

    • shamoy

      Best idea ever, indeed sony makes the best hardware

    • Jaikishan Kankani

      I agree, but since it’s rumored that nexus 6 is the last nexus, Sony won’t be able to show it’s potential.

  • SugarFreeTargets

    Never liked the 6 month cycle. It was one of the reasons why I never wanted to buy an Experia Z phone because I would know a new one would be releasing very soon, making me feel like I got robbed in a way.

    • Andrew Dodd

      Yeah. It’s especially bad for North Americans who get a 2-3 month availability delay if they’re lucky.

      Z2 didn’t go on sale in NA until the Z3 was available elsewhere.

      Also, Sony has been well respected in the enthusiast/developer community overall, but the 6-month product cycle leads to their devices being hit-or-miss as far as alternate-firmware project support, as maintainers just can’t keep up with all the devices. Sony Imaging’s rabid desire to sabotage the rest of Sony doesn’t help. Imaging seems hellbent on bringing back everything that was bad about Sony that got them into trouble in the first place.

  • Phil

    I have an Xperia Z3, and with the T mobile jump program I can get a new phone every 6 months. Having said that not every carrier gives that option, and it must suck for people stuck in a two yearcontract. I do believe bringing a new phone only once a year would help to cut costs for Sony, and give them more time to develop great ideas

  • Darcy Myers

    Would be a good move for them. There is no need for a new phone coming out every 6 mos. But that isn’t what they are talking about.

  • John Doe

    As long as they keep the OS upgrade capability alive over life of the phone (say 2yrs+) users will remain happy. The phones are already water proof (per say) and as the new Gorilla 4+ allows for less cracked screens, users will keep their phones longer …

  • Mike Bastable

    Having owned the xperia z, bought on looks alone, i detest SONY phones, bad software, awful ergonomics and deathly arrogant customer care (or basically total lack of customer care)…if they lenghten the life of their products all they are actually doing is not releasing new stuff because they cannot afford to because no one buys a SONY phone.
    They need a TOTAL clean out. New design. New interface. New Customer Service GLOBALLY (they are all equally bad!).
    THERE IS NO company better positioned to compete with Apple than SONY, they own so much content, PS4 and online services etc but they screw it up everytime. I doubt very much that SONY handsets will be around long, and as a ex-customer THAT is a relief.

    • xperia

      You are liyar my all family use xperia and they are amazing phones. I think you never use xperia you are liyar

      • Mike Bastable

        Do you want a foto u ass ? I use it as a alarm clock. And it is “liar”. Feel free disagree…and u am happy your family like their phones. However cont call me a liar…it is rude and silly.
        I talk about service, design and ergonomics from MY experience. You seem to be talking for your family..strange.
        So dont be rude just share your opinion, we love to read it and discuss here….politely if possible.

      • Mike Bastable

        Calling me a liar and being rude and arrogant……do you work for Sony Customer Service?

    • Darcy Myers

      The only issue I have with owning a Sony is that there aren’t many cases. These phones are built way better than any other phone out there. And unlike Samsung the stuff that comes on the phone works and is useful. And what other company has a water resistant phone that is pretty much waterproof? Never have I had any issues with customer service. The only reason they aren’t making much in places like the US is lack of advertising and lack of availability.

  • Never understood the 6 monthly flagship releases. Try flagships in the Spring and Phlablets in the Autumn.

  • ShockWave

    They should have realized that already, the Z3 is barely a successor to the Z2 and actually there is no real reason for the huge difference in price between both phones, I mean if you have the same processor,SoC,GPU,RAM,internal memory,camera with barely any difference other than it’s a bit wider with a higher ISO,screen mostly with a bit of a difference in the screen brightness but the same quality,size,connectivity,battery.
    That’s not a successor all they did is they made the Z2 seems old although it’s a perfect competitor with any S801 phone and it’s mostly priced really nice.
    Moreover customers hate to know that this phone that is priced at 700$ won’t be a flagship after 6 months, they shouldn’t have thought about it anyway.
    Anyway their phones are known for quality hardware but they should really care about the software specially the camera software which is not that bad if you know how to deal with manual options but with the auto mode you get a really decreased quality.
    I am looking forward to getting an Xperia phone if they can get it right with the software on the Z4 and if they realize what is really needed to conquer the market like pricing competitively.

    • Brad

      Software has always been their Achilles heel. For years they lacked software altogether to link their devices. They have just finally started to develop and integrate an ecosystem into their products. Give them time. They are several years behind most companies with their software and ecosystem because they are just starting out. Think it will only get better since they stopped focusing on making all that cheap crap trying to penetrate the Chinese market. I’m glad to hear they are focusing solely on high to mid-range models. Now their focus is more on innovation rather than trying to make everything cheaply and less innovative for the lower-end markets. I’m so glad they pulled out of the Chinese smartphone market. Never understood why they changed their business model in the first place over 10 years ago and started making cheap crap. The quality of their T.Vs, phones, computers, etc took a big hit over the last 10 years and it was because they stopped being the premium brand known for quality and innovation. So glad they changed that because it wasn’t working. Hopefully, they will really focus on innovation to force other companies to step it up with new technology.

  • Karly Johnston

    Does it matter when Sony is selling the Xperia line?

    • Brad

      Not really. It only seems to matter to those people who have to have the newest thing. Those people who change phones every time something new comes out.

  • BT Onedem

    Right direction.

  • Wytei

    I think you should try an app for your phone, it allows: track GPS location, spy on text messages, web history, images, calls logs and spy call recording, spy on Whatsapp, Facebook messages, Snapchat, Line, BBM messages and so on. It’s 1TopSpy, you’d try it :D

  • McLaren F1P1

    Regular Z series in March-May and Z Compact series in Oct-Dec! And a lot of people were suggesting this idea when their sales were down last year! Take Samsung’s phone and phablet(here Compact series) strategy! I think they’re too arrogant to admit they had a bad strategy!
    Do these product and marketing directors even think?? I guess they only think of their pay slips and bonuses instead of being interested in the success of their company! If Sony is bankrupt, that’s not their problem!

    • Brad

      From what I read last year. Sony’s CEO didn’t except his bonuses in 2013 because the company was doing so bad and the CEO said he wouldn’t take his bonuses until the company’s restructuring was successful. Not sure if he followed through or not, and not sure if he did the same in 2014. I hope so. I need to follow-up because if he did not except his bonus then he should be the model for all CEOs. Don’t accept your multi-million dollar bonuses if your company is not performing.

  • Tommy Crosby

    Finally, I will be able to consider Sony again in my choices next time I buy a phone. With the stupid fast phone evolution and quick death of update support we get, we should have at least one year with a phone before being obsolete in it’s own turf.

    • Brad

      I agree. I am also leaning towards a Sony phone when my contract for my Note 3 ends later this year. Their new phones look solid and quite impressive. Hope they don’t screw up the Xperia Z4 because I will get one if they don’t screw it up. My contract runs out in November, so it should be out by then. Hell, at this rate the Z5 may be out by then. They really should slow it down a bit, but it won’t deter me if they do. Probably not too many significant changes between models. Probably only a noticeable difference between their phones after 2 or 3 generations because they come out so quickly.

  • Moja Mujaden

    How about Sony and hisense?