BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Joint telecom venture Sony Ericsson is making good on its gamble to stick it out with Google’s Android mobile platform with its recent announcement that it will have an all-smartphone lineup next year.
“Our portfolio for 2012 will be a straight smartphone [lineup] running on Android,” Sony Ericsson Philippines Country Manager Dennis Manzano told reporters before the opening of the Baguio leg of its Sony Ericsson 3D Expo.
Patrick Larraga, the phone maker’s marketing manager for the Southeast Asia hub, said their focus on Android is “consistent with the ambition of Sony Ericsson, which is to be a leader in Android, so that’s where the intention lies.”
Among the myriad of phone manufacturers worldwide producing Android-powered smartphones, Sony Ericsson continues to lag behind strong competitors such as Huawei, Motorola, HTC, LG and Samsung, which lead the market today.
According to recent data from research firm Gartner, Sony Ericsson’s annual global market share dipped to 1.9 percent in the third quarter of 2011, compared with 2.5 percent a year ago.
Its pure Android focus makes Sony Ericsson one of the very few manufacturers to have a single – OS portfolio, as other phone makers continue to leverage on other systems such as Symbian, Windows Phone 7 and their own proprietary mobile phone operating systems.
Manzano, however, said he believes their strong focus on Android will help bolster the company’s numbers by next year. “The big difference will be in the Sony-ness of our DNA,” he stressed. “We see this latest development about Sony Ericsson joining the Sony group 100% as a big step toward that strategy.”
This year, in fact, majority of the products the company launched in the market were Android-based and capitalized on unique strengths of other products under the Sony umbrella, as it begins to wean off its dependence on feature phones for sales.
During the third quarter, the company said its smartphones accounted for as much as 80 percent of its sales, up 10 percentage points over the previous quarter.
“Our close collaboration with Sony has allowed us to be first-in-the-market in areas such as mobile imaging, gaming and entertainment,” he added.
Last of ‘Sony Ericsson’?
In the same breath, the Sony Ericsson executive announced the local availability of two new additions to its Xperia line, namely the Xperia arc S and Xperia neo V, to complete its Android portfolio for 2011.
The Xperia arc S, a hardware upgrade to the Xperia arc S launched earlier this year, features a bumped-up 1.4GHz single-core processor, which the company claims can “start up the 8.1-megapixel camera 25 percent faster [than its predecessor], and render web pages 20 percent faster.”
Taking cue from the mother company’s LCD TV line, the arc S boasts of what Sony Ericsson calls as “Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA engine,” which the company claims makes images and video display crisper, sharper and more vivid.
Its HD camera capable of recording 720p high-definition video is said to be powererd by the Exmor R image sensor technology typically found in Sony Alpha professional digital-SLR cameras, which gives a clearer picture even under low-lighting conditions, thanks to its bigger aperture.
The Xperia neo V, on the other hand, is the vendor’s mid-range offering, which is powered by a mid-end processor and fitted with a 3.7″ TFT screen as well as a front-facing camera.
The neo V also comes with a Sony innovation called xLOUD, which tends to enhance music playback over the phone’s speakers.
Both phones are also capable of capturing photos using the 3D sweep panorama feature, the outputs of which can be viewewd on a 3D-capable TV through the standard HDMI port.
The two new additions to the Xperia family will be coming out of retail stores this month, with the arc S selling for P22,990 and the neo V for P15,990. They are also eligible for an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade once the software update is released next year.
Manzano, however, refused to disclose if this will be the last phones to be slapped with the “Sony Ericsson” brand, and just advised to “watch out for Sony Ericsson’s homecoming on January 31, 2012,” when the Ericsson buyout deal is expected to be closed.