Jan 27th, 2015

Sony logo CES 2015 DSC_0059

Sony’s financial troubles as of late haven’t gone undocumented. With unfortunate layoffs, the sale of key buildings and the need to spin off certain divisions to keep itself afloat, the company is willing to do anything to stop the massive bleeding that once had their credit rated as “junk.”

The latest move comes in a big shift in strategy for the company’s mobile division, a unit which costs Sony hundreds of millions of dollars every year and was said to be the biggest burden on the company’s expected 2015 losses of $1.9 billion.

The Japanese company is reportedly looking to cut back on smartphone releases and will instead look to prolong their flagship smartphones’ life cycles. As such, it’s said they will not be revealing a new flagship at Mobile World Congress and will instead wait until the summer months to show off their next big thing.

It’s not uncommon to see Sony release as many as three flagship smartphones in a calendar year, and while it’s fun for us techies to see new smartphones and gadgets often the practice comes with a fair bit of downside. The problem with such frequent releases? Here’s a quick primer:

  • It splits the marketing focus between far too many phones at one time instead of pushing one rock star product above all else.
  • Consumers are always wary of what’s right around the corner, so they hold off buying knowing it won’t be long before the current product is one-upped with the latest and greatest.
  • Research and development costs, engineering and production, and the subsequent distribution of a smartphone all cost a ton of money, time and other resources. Those resources and that energy could instead be pooled into one project to deliver the best possible product from angles of design, specifications and features.

HTC found themselves in the same rut not long ago and opted to slim their top-line portfolio down to just one or two key devices every year ( HTC One M7 and HTC One Max for 2013, HTC One M8 for 2014). That move, along with other key business decisions — like the sale of Beats and a renewed focus on mid-range offerings — allowed HTC to get the arrow pointing back in the right direction.

Some Sony fans who value the wealth of options afforded to them might be saddened to hear this news, but if this is what Sony has to do to avoid having to sell their mobile unit then you should definitely be on board. Better to see them prosper in new ways than to wither off into nothingness.

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