Sony is still not ready for the US market, says CEO

by: Bogdan PetrovanOctober 11, 2013

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Sony has put out some great devices over the past year, which reflected in increasing quarterly sales and growing prestige within the Android community. However, Sony isn’t active in the United States, the world’s second largest smartphone market, and the situation may not change anytime soon.

Speaking to the press today, CEO Kaz Hirai said that Sony would continue to focus on Japan and Europe, the markets that currently generate 60 percent of its mobile sales. Other big markets will have to wait:

[quote qtext=”Those two are the most important areas for us and we’ll put substantial resources there. But not yet for the U.S. and China” qperson=”” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

Sony plans to “start gradually” in the US, though we could say it already made a small first step with the release of the Xperia Z on T-Mobile. Unfortunately, it looks that the Xperia Z1, which launched last month around the world, won’t see a wider release in the US.

Hirai’s statement comes as a cold shower for those who hoped to see Sony vigorously tackling the American market. The reasons for this reluctance may have to do with the huge marketing expenses required to crack the US market, as well as the strong presence of Apple, which leaves Sony a smaller pool of potential consumers to fight over with other manufacturers.

We recently reviewed the Sony Xperia Z1 and we were impressed with its build, hardware, and camera, though we found that the glass and metal phone has several flaws. For now, your best chance to get an Xperia Z1 in the States is an importer like Negri Electronics, as the device has not been announced for any carrier yet.

Globally, Sony is quite ambitious: the company hopes to take third place behind Samsung and Apple, with a target of 42 million units this year. LG and Huawei are the other two contenders for a podium place.

  • myz06vette

    I got my unlocked Z1 from Overseas Electronics in Chicago. Couldn’t be happier. It blows away all the other phones I’ve had, in terms of both build quality and performance. The only downside is I can’t use it with Verizon 4G LTE.

  • Leonardo Rojas

    How incomprehensible. Can’t believe it.
    Is Sony an unknown brand in the US?

    This could seem similar here in Peru, out of the 2 carriers, only 1 had the Xperia ZL, and both had the T, U and Sola. No one the Z.
    It may be that Sony find these markets too difficult to win that can’t invest confidently?

    Right now in the local Sony Mobile Facebook acc they are promoting the Z1, fortunately. But many people are -still- disappointed with the very low availability of Sony smartphones in the country.

    Can’t understand. Isn’t the more markets the better?

  • Luka Mlinar

    Why would they. You would need to spend billions for a return that’s not worth it. The rest of the world’s where it’s at. More you invest in the US market more you alienate the rest of the world. Motorola put half a billion into US ads and got nothing out of it, OPPO put nothing into the European market and yet they are growing larger day by day. Of course there is more to it but the fact stands; why be a small fish in a large town….

  • Babylonbwoy

    Is it because of all the mess in US networks ? Here in Europe they release a device and it’s compatible with all carrier on all networks (unless its simlocked of course), instead of releasing a different version for each carrier with different bands…?

    • Cole Raney

      You have to have different bands from what I understands. There might be multiple bands in a phone to support multiple carriers. The problem in the U.S. is that you need 2 different versions. European carriers are almost all GSM carriers, in the U.S., 2 of the big 4 carriers are GSM, and 2 are CDMA. CDMA is an older technology. That is why we have it, The two big companies that are CDMA (Sprint and Verizon) have always been CDMA. GSM allows for sim cards and the ability to buy unlocked phones, CDMA does not allow either. Well, now CDMA phones are getting sim cards to support LTE, and some have had it for coverage overseas.

      There are 2 major GSM carriers (AT&T and T-mobile), which have had sim cards for a long time in every phone, and do support unlocked devices. A GSM phone won’t work on a CDMA network, and vice versa. So you need a CDMA version and a GSM version. I guess you could go with just a GSM version, but then you are missing out on half or more than half of the people with cell phones.

      I think a bigger issue, though, might be that the carriers in the U.S. are stricter. Many android phones have had to have different variants for each carrier because the carriers wouldn’t accept them otherwise. A big exception was the Galaxy S3. The Galaxy S3 was the first Samsung flagship smartphone to have its U.S. version look exactly like the international version. They were still required to put some apps from the carrier in the phone without the ability to delete them.

      • Babylonbwoy

        Ok, thanks for explanation, it always amaze me when I go on XDA and see many forums for each variants for Galaxies phones!