updated 03:09 pm EST, Sat January 11, 2014
Sony lends more weight to VAIO Windows Phone rumors
Sony has confirmed that it is looking into branching out from its current Android-exclusive smartphone offerings and launching a device running on Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. Speaking with TechRadar, Sony Mobile Europe's Pierre Perron said that the company is talking with the software giant and keeping its options open. Sony's consideration of the Windows Phone platform is due in part, Perron said, to concerns about the manufacturer's standing in a shifting mobile marketplace.
"We don't want to be a single OS manufacturer," Perron said, "I don't think it's a viable position in the long term."
Sony currently only manufactures smartphones running Google's Android operating system. The most popular mobile OS in the world, Android powers some eight out of ten smartphones shipped worldwide. A distant second is Apple's iOS, but that platform is exclusive to the iPhone maker's own devices. Windows Phone has displaced BlackBerry OS and moved into the third-place position, but its market share is still in the single digits.
A Lumia device from Nokia, running Microsoft's Windows Phone 8
Once an unquestioned leader in the portable electronics sphere, Sony has seen its importance diminished as it was first displaced by Apple's iPhone, and the firm has been unable to regain its preeminence over the past decade. In the Android segment, Sony trails far behind Samsung in terms of market share. In terms of profit, Samsung and Apple swallow all of the smartphone industry's earnings, while Sony and others break even or lose money on their mobile segments.
The potential addition of a Windows Phone device - which Sony could market under its successful VAIO computer brand - would potentially give Sony another route, while adding a quality device manufacturer to Microsoft's Windows Phone partner lineup. Recently, rumors heated up that Sony was considering such a move, and Perron's comments lend fuel to such suppositions.
"[Working with Microsoft] is an interesting proposition for us in the PC environment, and we continue our engagement with them," Perron added. "We are exploring this as part of our discussion in mobile space too. One thing is using the platform [Windows Phone], and another is 'what can we deliver on top of it?'"