Phone firm's success lies on its Sony genes

MANILA - As if it has just awakened from a deep slumber and in a hurry to make up for lost time, Sony Ericsson has been very aggressive in releasing new mobile phone models, mostly Android-based, since early this year.

In the Philippines, for instance, it is scheduled to launch six handset models in the next three months to follow the recent introduction of its Walkman phones, both Android and feature units.

The move is aimed at reinforcing Sony Ericsson's market positioning as the communication entertainment smartphone brand, and in line with its fighting goal of becoming the world's No. 1 Android phone maker.

Company corporate vice president and Asia-Pacific head Matthew Lang says Sony Ericsson's "Sony-ness" is the biggest "differentiator" that sets the company apart from its peers in the highly competitive mobile phone market. The company hopes to cement its position as the top communication entertainment phone brand and the maker of the No. 1 Android phone in the market.

"The Android platform runs across all smartphones nowadays, and it is our 'Sony-ness' that differentiates us from the rest. We bring together Ericsson's latest technology in communication platforms and marry that with the 'Sony-ness' to come up with products that provide unique and exciting customer experience," Lang says.

Solid examples of such "marriage" are Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play-a phone and Play Station in one-which, however, has yet to be launched in the Philippine market, and the Walkman Android phones.

"We also work closely with partners Google and Facebook to give the consumers what we believe they are asking for-a very deep and tight integration with the products offered by these partners," Lang says.

"Others may claim they have the fastest, most powerful processors, but what Sony Ericsson puts on the table is the best optimized version of the technology, ensuring superior and unique user experience," he adds.

Sony Ericsson, Lang says, is very cognizant of the whole Sony ecosystem-from gaming to video, from films to music. "The intention is to leverage on that to maximize the experience for consumers the best we can."

The company is "developing the gaming part of the business through Xperia Play," while the Walkman into Android phones take up the music part, Lang says.

Its "Sony-ness" provides users of Sony Ericsson handsets access to the millions of music and films offered by Qriosity (pronounced curiosity), Sony's video and music streaming service in the cloud that threatens to rival iTunes.

Games for Xperia Play may also be downloadable from the Cloud, and the company is ensuring that such support will be available when the gadget is rolled out around the world, including the Philippines.

Inside most of Sony Ericsson's phones are the latest in the Android platform, currently the Gingerbread 2.3, Sony's mobile Bravia engine that allows reality displays on phone screens, Sony's Exmor R back-illuminated sensor and, of course, social features such as the Facebook.

Sony Ericsson focuses on Android because the company believes it is fast becoming the dominant operating system in the smartphone arena. "But we won't close our doors to possible new operating systems that will be developed in the future."

At present, Lang says, the company accounts for 11 per cent of the Android market and it is in the top 3 companies in this area in the Asia Pacific market.

It believes it is on its way to becoming No. 1 as it launches handsets that fit all types of markets. The company has also adopted an aggressive pricing stance with the ultimate aim of making the Sony Ericsson experience affordable to a greater majority of the consumers.

In September, the company will launch in the Philippines the Xperia ray, Xperia active, Sony Ericsson txt pro, mini pro and Sony Ericsson txt. Last month, the company introduced here its Walkman-based lines, whose prices range from only P2,900 to P8,000 (S$82 to S$230).

All models and others to be launched in the foreseeable future offer the experiences that meet the aspirations of phone users. The only task that Sony Ericsson needs to do now is to bring this message across to consumers.