updated 06:15 am EDT, Fri October 14, 2011
Sony Ericsson to drop basic feature phones by 2012
Sony Ericsson on Friday bounced back from its spring loss with much better results and a new strategy. The company returned from its earlier loss to a rare break-even performance and also saw the average price of a phone surge $10 to $166. Over 80 percent of its sales were now smartphones, and it now planned for its entire line to be smartphones sometime during 2012.
Sales themselves were also recovering quickly. It grew from 7.6 million phones just this spring to 9.5 million in the summer. The company didn't assign any specific credit to the rise beyond smartphones as a whole. It may have been helped by the Xperia Play, which gave Sony Ericsson a rare carrier-attached smartphone in the US through AT&T and Verizon. The Xperia arc has been the company's other key flagship and sells worldwide, although it's only available unlocked in the US.
Sony Ericsson is considered distant in Android market share to heavyweights such as HTC and Samsung, but its new results suggest the company may be returning to strength after years of decline. CEO Bert Nordberg admitted recently that his company didn't take the iPhone seriously enough and kept making basic feature phones instead of reprioritizing itself. Moving to Android almost single-handedly saved the company by giving it high-profile phones while letting it drop its failed Symbian and Windows Phone attempts.
No mention was made of rumors of Sony buying out Ericsson's stake in the joint venture. The shift, if true, would see Sony aiming for a more iPhone-like model where it has more control over integrating hardware and software into a larger ecosystem.