Sony wants a spot on the podium alongside Samsung and Apple

by: Robert TriggsMarch 4, 2013

Sony logo aa (1) - 600px

According to a roundtable briefing in Tokyo which took place today, Sony has some big ambitions for this year. Kunimasa Suzuki, president and CEO of Sony Mobile Communications, boldly stated that Sony is looking to overtake Chinese market leader Huawei and take its place as the third largest company in terms of number of handsets shipped.

Sony currently sits in fourth position behind Huawei, Samsung, and Apple, with a market share of 4.5 percent, according to research conduced by IDC. This puts them just slightly behind Huawei, which has a 4.9 percent share, and just ahead of ZET which claimed 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. However these companies pale in comparison to Apple and Samsung, which jointly took more than half of the total market share last year.

But how exactly does Sony intend to make its way in to third position? Earlier in the year Sony stated that it wants to focus entirely on mid and high level handsets, but has yet to demonstrate sales figures which show that the strategy is breaking ground. Sony’s premium handsets like the Xperia Z are selling quite well, but don’t appear to be giving the company the advantage it needs to leap ahead other manufactures, as competition for top of the line handsets is already extremely high.

It looks like Sony is already prepared to u-turn on this business plan, as the latest tactics discussed at the meeting appear to be focused around manufacturing affordable handsets for emerging markets. This decision is likely to have something to do with Sony’s announcement just last week to support the upcoming Firefox OS. We’ve already seen an experimental Firefox ROM running on the Xperia E, which could be a sign of the sort of handset that Sony is looking to make an impact with in emerging markets.

This new strategy could certainly pay dividends in markets where budget orientated products are big business, like China for example. If Sony can gain a foothold in these markets with cheaper handsets, then it could well oust Hauwei from third position. But as it doesn’t plan on being the first to market with cheap Firefox OS smartphones, Sony risks having to play catch-up yet again.

It’s still early in the year, and as there are no precise details on what exactly Sony plans to do over the coming months it’s hard to speculate on exactly where Sony will end up come the end of 2013. Third place is certainly attainable; the opportunities are there, but can Sony seize the initiative.

  • APai

    sony makes decent phones, but they would have to go the extra mile, simply because samsung and apple have such a strong name already. beating them would be hard. since sony relies on 3rd party vendors for their cpu/ gpu – they will not be able to grab any headlines from a “powerful chip” point of view.

    sony ironically supplies imaging sensors to both samsung and apple, what is baffling is that sony’s own phones do not have class leading features that apple and samsung eke out with sony sensors! they still are not close to nokia’s 808. so sony has its work cutout.

  • Roberto Tomás

    it would be healthy I think for the market if there were 4 or 5 major competitors each vying for top spot but all of them around 20% or 15% or the market, rather than having a top heavy division. As it is now, it suffers from a lot of the same problems a monopoly poses: obviously there are a lot of options still, but the smaller companies don’t really participate in a democratic steering of the technology as well as optimum, maybe.

  • MasterMuffin

    Sony > Huawei, I hope they make it!

  • with Z series.. i believe they can make it


    Sony needs a flag ship device that’s on every major network not just at&t they need to build marketing for there mobile devices Samsung and apple worked to get those top slots so Sony needs to bring something to the table innovation not just hardware

    • I agree, only reason why I never had a Sony phone is because they are all on at&t.

  • They make great phones, but clearly did not make enough of them and are not going anywhere without prioritizing north america, it is still nearly impossible to get the Z, which, though a fantastic super-phone, is 3 months old.