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Sony takes on Apple with new Xperia Phone
Sony takes on Apple with new Xperia phone
Sony, the Japanese technology giant, will this week lay down its first serious challenge to Apple and Samsung in the intensely competitive mobile phone sector.
The company has lagged behind rivals in recent years in the so-called smartphone wars but will attempt to stage a comeback with a new line of sleek handsets which run on Google’s Android operating system. It is expected to unveil the new handsets at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
One of the handsets is expected to sit somewhere between a traditional smartphone and a larger tablet device, following reports that it has been experimenting with a five-inch screen display.
Dennis van Schie, Sony’s sales and marketing chief, told a German newspaper that the company was preparing to launch “a flagship model that can compete with Apple’s EE" target="out">iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S III”.
If it lives up to the billing, Sony may be able to take a considerable slice of the rapidly growing smartphone market which is expected to be worth more than $150bn next year.
The widely-reported Xperia Z is expected to feature a 13mp camera and a quad core processor, in a minimalist design that is distunctive from both the Apple EE" target="out">iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S3.
The growth opportunity will be crucial to Sony chief executive Kuzuo Hirai, who took the helm nine months ago and faces a difficult job of turning the Japanese behemoth around.
Sony has made a loss for each of the last four years, and was still $198m in the red last quarter. Mr Hirai has given himself two years to return the company to profit.
The sprawling Japanese giant has seen a steady decline in sales at its home entertainment division, which produces televisions, as well as its music and film businesses.
The mobile division also make a loss but Mr Hirai has put that operation at the centre of his turnaround plans, severing ties with Ericsson last year and relocating the mobile unit’s headquarters from Sweden to Tokyo.
However, Sony is not the only company that the new smartphones stand to benefit.
Their success would also give a boost to Google, which is battling Apple for a grip on the smartphone market through its Android system. The freely available software also powers many Samsung phones, so a range of Sony Android handsets would help it close in on Apple even further.
Sony will not be alone in upping its game at CES, however. Samsung is expected to showcase a new smartphone model with a flexible screen, although these are not expected to be made available to consumers for some time yet.
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