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MWC 2013: Sony Says Brand Is Stronger After Sony Ericsson Buyout

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Sony’s Stephen Sneeden says that its mobile operations are in a better position after acquisition

Sony believes that its acquisition of Ericsson’s stake in the Sony Ericsson smartphone joint venture has strengthened its brand and mobile strategy as it seeks to make a serious impact in the smartphone and tablet markets in 2013.

Speaking to TechWeekEurope at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Sony said that there were a number of advantages to having all of its mobile operations under one roof and that a stronger brand will allow it to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung.

The Japanese manufacturer used the show as a platform to show off the Sony Xperia Tablet Z and the recently-announced Sony Xperia Z smartphone, which has generated considerable interest among consumers and the media.

Sony Mobile strength

Sony MWC 2013The two devices share a number of design aspects and connectivity features that would have been difficult to implement before Sony took complete control of Sony Ericsson last year.

“We’re taking advantage of being wholly part of Sony,” explained Stephen Sneeden, product marketing manager at Sony Mobile. “Now both the tablet group and the smartphone group are under the Xperia umbrella, we’re able to have the different synergies from being part of different Sony groups.”

“There are a lot of commonalities between the two devices and that is quite intentional,” he continued. “As you look around the product, you’ll note the consistency in design. So you’ve got the smooth edges, the reflective surfaces, the durable temperate glass on the front and the signature statements like the power button.

Sony brand is essential

The Sony brand recognition is essential and is what we’re leveraging. Last year, you would see Xperia as a larger entity than a Sony smartphone. That has flipped now as Xperia is clearly the sub-brand, just like Bravia is for TVs and Cybershot for Cameras.”

Sneeden said that the new organisational structure also allowed it to take advantage of what Sony has been historically “fantastic” at, like screen and camera technology, and its new mobile devices will be able to interact with other Sony products, such as Bravia televisions.

“It’s important to note that this is the Sony Mobile Group, but everything we’re doing is all about the ‘Sony-ness’,” Sneeden said.  “I think what you saw was Sony Ericsson trying a number of things but isolating them by creating Walkman phones and Cybershot phones, trying to use one feature to draw customers in.”

Sony is one of a number of smartphone manufacturers hoping to increase its share of the smartphone market and has told TechWeekEurope of its ambition to become the third largest manufacturer in the near future.

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Sony Mobile MWC 2013

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Sony Xperia Z