In a not too surprising move, Sony has announced that Hiroki Totoki (Corporate Planning, Finance and New Business) will replace Kunimasa Suzuki (pictured above) as CEO of Sony Mobile Communications starting on November 16th, 2014. During his time as head of Sony Mobile, Suzuki has helped Sony navigate past their partnership with Ericsson and bring mobile directly under Sony in Japan. Despite being one of the head architect of the Sony Xperia Z line initiative (the company’s flagship smartphone and tablet), Sony has seen their mobile share erode which was set to be one of the three pillars of the One Sony strategy under Kaz Hirai and was designed to help the struggling giant return to profitability.
Computers, Smartphones & Tablets
Chalk this under WTF, but some Sony Xperia smartphones running Android KitKat appear to contain an extra folder that may contain a Baidu spyware. China was most recently linked to diverting iCloud and Microsoft users to fake home pages in order to collect their data. While it’s unclear what information this software is sending back, it’s quite clear that it is pinging back to Chinese servers. The Baidu software so far has been found on Sony smartphones running Android 4.4.2 or 4.4.4., including Sony’s latest smartphones, the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 compact. Besides Sony devices, the Baidu spyware, as it’s being called, can also be found on the HTC One M7, Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy SIII, and other Android smartphones.
More details after the jump.
If you’re not content with the Sony Xperia Z3, which will be available on both T-Mobile and Verizon by month’s end, then may I present you the Sony Xperia T3. Dubbed the world’s slimmest 5.3-inch smartphone, the Xperia T3 offers an 8-megapixel main camera, 1GB RAM, and 8GB internal storage all wrapped in a stainless steel frame. The Sony Xperia T3 has all the usual features you’d expect and appreciate on a Sony smartphone, ranging from NFC to DLNA, a fully-supported camera with Timeshift burst, portrait retouch, and more. Something to watch out for, which helps set this mid-range Android smartphone apart from competitors, is the packed-in Exmor RS sensor that’s designed to give more accurate, realistic, and properly-balanced photos.
Best of all, we’re getting it in the US, unlocked, and for a reasonable price.
Android 5.0 Lollipop, previously known as Android L under developer preview, is coming to Sony’s modern fleet of phones. While devices of old like the Xperia S will not be receiving the latest from Google, Sony has promised to update their entire Xperia Z fleet to Lollipop.
We’ll be making Sony Mobile’s Android “L” upgrade available for the entire premium Z series
According to Sony, updates will begin to roll out in 2015 for the core Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z2 series. After that, Sony will turn its attention to older devices like the Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z Ultra. After the jump, the full list of Sony smartphones and tablets that will receive Android 5.0 Lollipop.
With the Xperia Z3 safely headed to US carrier T-Mobile and Verizon, Sony is now focusing on its home turf of Japan. Matching the US with two carriers, the Sony Xperia Z3 today launches on KDDI and NTT DoCoMo, the countries two largest carriers. Come November, Softbank, the nations other mega carrier will also begin to offer the new flagship smartphone. Unlike international models, the Xperia Z3′s offered in Japan will offer 32GB internal storage versus 16GB.
While Sony will likely revise their Fy 2014 sales target downward for the second time in just a short time, the company continues to make strides in improving their carrier relationship. Later this month, the Sony Xperia Z3 will launch on Verizon and T-Mobile, a first for Sony in the US. Along side the Xperia Z3v, designed specifically for Verizon with additional enhancements that are not available on the model sold on other carriers, Verizon will also be carrying the SmartWatch 3. Despite its name, the Sony SmartWatch 3 is actually the fifth iteration from Sony and is based off of Android Wear, the newest software release from Google that’s specifically designed for wearables like watches and fitness trackers.
Now in addition to Verizon outlets, Sony will be offering the SmartWatch 3 on Google Play.
FY 2014 was set to be the year that Sony would put its troubles behind and begin turning a profit. A key part of this initiative was to be Sony Mobile, the division which oversees development of the company’s Xperia smartphone and tablets. While Sony has mounted huge losses over the years, it was expected that FY 2014 would result in a modest $500 million loss and with full profitability in the years to follow. Unfortunately for Sony and its investors, due to stiff competition on the high-end from Apple and the cut throat nature of the low-end market due to a flood of devices from China, Sony will likely post a $2.1 billion loss for FY 2014.
Now comes news that Sony may once again revise its sales forecast for the worse and come well below their already lowered target.
In addition to launching the free ‘Xperia Transfer Mobile’ app on the Windows Phone Store, Sony has also republished a video tutorial to help you navigate the transfer. Designed to lure Windows Phone users to Android and specifically Sony Xperia smartphones, the Xperia Transfer Mobile app can help transfer contacts, message, calendar, and media with just a few clicks.
Though the video specifically mentions iOS and Android users only, the same steps are in place for those looking to transfer from Windows Phone to Android as this video itself was created some time ago. After the jump, the video tutorial from Sony awaits you.
Sure Sony’s mobile division is raking up massive losses for the company but that’s not stopping them from trying new ways to lure customers. After already targeting iOS users with a similar tool, Sony is now turning its attention to Windows Mobile users. Dubbed the Xperia Transfer Mobile app, this latest free download helps those who are looking to depart from the world of Windows to Android land by making the transition smoother.
For the most part, 2014 has been a disastrous year for Sony Mobile. The division that was supposed to be one of the three main pillars of Sony that would help reinvigorate the company and help them turn a profit will instead cause a $2.1 billion net loss for FY 2014. One main culprit has been a lack of presence by Sony in the US. With the announcement of the Xperia Z3, Sony is looking to change that outlook. Later this month, Sony will launch the Xperia Z3v on Verizon, a big move for a company that has had practically no carrier support in the US.
In addition to Verizon, the Sony Xperia Z3 will also be coming to T-Mobile with pre-orders going live soon. After the jump, we have more details.
It was revealed yesterday that Sony’s latest flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z3v, would be coming to Verizon on October 23rd. Eagle-eyed readers will note that the model number has a ‘v’ tacked on at the end and likely assumed that it simply stood for Verizon with no other changes to the premium smartphone. While it’s true that the ‘v’ at the end is designed to differentiate the model from other Xperia Z3 units that Sony will be shipping out, most notably to T-Mobile, the Xperia Z3v is in a lot of ways quite different than the model its competitors will be receiving. After the jump, we reveal the differences between the two models.
Lately we haven’t had much good news to announce from Sony and their efforts. Despite an impressive product portfolio that was recently refreshed at IFA 2014, traction has been nearly non-existent for the Japanese giant in the US. Hopefully, all of that will change later this month when the Sony Xperia Z3v heads to Verizon, the nation’s largest carrier. Following on the footsteps of other premium devices, the Xperia Z3v will retail for $200 on a two-year contract, making it an attractive alternative to Samsung who is starting to struggle as their recent earnings are expected to dip 60 percent.
After the jump, we talk release date and the Sony SmartWatch 3.
In its upcoming earnings report, many analysts expect Samsung to report a significant dip in its quarterly profits. For Q3 2014, the electronic giant will likely report a profit of 4.1 trillion won ($3.8 billion) from the $10.6 trillion won operating profit that the company booked in Q3 2013. That means in just one quarter, Samsung profits will have dipped nearly 60%! With continued pressure from Apple in the high-end market and increasing competition from Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi and Lenovo, Samsung is beginning to find itself unable to compete. It’s also worth noting that during Q3 2014, Apple held a 0% market share for smartphones with a screen size larger than 4-inches. Since that time, Apple has introduced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ which command 4.7- and 5.5-inch displays, taking the only advantage Samsung may have had in the high-end market.
Translation? Next quarter will likely be even worse for Samsung. If this all sounds too familiar, we need not look further than Sony to see a company who is plagued by the same issues. Sony just recently revised their FY 2014 estimate and announced a larger than expected $2.1 billion loss. Samsung’s pain, however, might be Sony’s gain if Sony can learn some key lessons from this massive blow to Samsung.
Soon to be available in select territories like Europe and Asia, the Sony SmartWatch 3 is actually the company’s 5th iteration to take on the growing wearable market. Announced at IFA 2014 in Berlin, the SmartWatch 3 is the first device from Sony to incorporate Android Wear, the OS from Google that’s specifically designed for wearables. As a recap, the SmartWatch 3 offers a sporty, rugged design which incorporates a steel-backed case with interchangeable silicone straps that can last for for two days (four days on standby) and charges via micro-USB. On the functionality end, you can get messages from your friends, appointment notifications, and weather updates among other things like flight information, tips based on your interests, or messages from other apps that support Android Wear. There is also a built-in mic with which you can use your voice for search, though, curiously, cannot be used for answering calls.
Alongside the SmartWatch 3, Sony also announced the SmartBand Talk which features a 1.4-inch e-paper display (like the Pebble). Much like the SmartWatch 3, the SmartBand Talk can track your activities, and displays notifications. As the name suggests, the SmartBand Talk is based around communicating. To that end, Sony incorporated a built-in microphone and speaker which allows for short call functions with HD Voice support. Priced nearly 100 euros under the SmartWatch 3 at 159.99, it makes for a curious choice that this unit offers call functionality while the SmartWatch 3 doesn’t.
Either way, whether Sony had incorporated talk functionality in the higher end model or not does not change the fact that it’s time for Sony to exit the wearable market and specifically smartwatches. Let me explain.
We’ve always complained about Sony’s ambitions for the US market, or lack thereof. While the company has fared much better in Europe, Sony’s mobile efforts have seen little results with small deals here and there between carriers. Sony most recently announced a $2.1 billion net loss for FY 2014, due to slowing demand for their mobile division which was supposed to be one of the saving graces for the company and part of the new vision for Sony. While growing competition from mid-range Chinese smartphones is largely to blame for the huge loss which was previously estimated at $500 million, a lack of entry in the US market has also hurt Sony. All of this might change on October 9th.
Last week Sony revealed that the mobile division has been not been selling smartphones in the volumes that it expected and inadvertently revealed that they bet on the wrong strategy. The corporation as a whole is looking at a net loss of $2.1 billion for the financial year ending 2014 (end March ’15).
More than a few of us are surprised. The rising popularity of Xperia devices and their spread to other markets gave an impression that Xperias were gaining broad market approval.
Unfortunately, the mobile division has made some poor choices and even worse, it threatens the stability of the overall corporation, being an important third of Sony’s main income.
How did this happen and where is Sony Corp. heading?
Yesterday it was revealed that due to Sony Mobile’s inability to sell mid-range smartphones in significant quantities, the company will likely be posting a $2.1 billion net loss for FY 2014. Unfortunately for Sony fans, and more so Sony employees, the bad news does not end there. Previously, Sony was forecasting for a ¥50 billion loss but with the forecast now expanding to ¥230 billion for the fiscal year, Sony once again has to look internally to help save money and that means a reduction in its staff to the tune of 15% for the mobile division.