Sony Ericsson back to black

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Company says “dark times are over” following launch of new Xperia range and improving relationships with B2B dealers

Sony Ericsson has told Mobile News its “dark times” are over with its new handset portfolio and will leverage its joint venture with Sony to help put itself back in the top tier for handsets in 2011.

Sony Ericsson admitted the company had under-performed in the past two years. Sales director Simon Albert even described the position of the business, on joining 16 months ago, as “rock bottom”.

But he said with the launch of its Xperia handsets last year, including the Vivaz and the X10 which was selling about 15,000 units a week at one stage, the company had returned to profit.

Sony Ericsson also lauded its decision to adopt the Android operating system, claiming statistics show its market share increased from six per cent in Q1 last year to 29 per cent today, overtaking Apple. It said Android has “roughly” 200,000 applications, which will continue to grow.

Sony Ericsson claims its new Xperia smartphone range launched in February – Play (pictured), Neo, Pro – and the Arc, launched in December, has put it on the verge of something “big”, by leveraging its hardware design with established Sony technologies such as the camera sensor Exmor R and image process Bravia Engine, to give it market differentiation.

Albert said: “We are in an unbelievable situation and are extremely excited about 2011. When I joined in 2009 it was a dark year for the company, but 2010 was a huge success and we turned it around by introducing a new portfolio of products with the Xperia X10, the Mini, Mini Pro, Vivaz and the Vivaz Pro.

“The turnaround and feedback has been great. We come from rock bottom and are now on the edge of something massive and are ready to push ourselves back into the top tier.

“This year we have Gingerbread on our Android version, so hopefully there is an opportunity with corporate customers with the added security, so it’s definitely an opportunity which wasn’t there before.”

All its Xperia handsets in 2011 will include HD voice technology to provide “crystal clear” calling. The technology, however, will only be able to be used on networks providing the HD
services, which are currently understood to comprise only Orange and T-Mobile (Everything Everywhere) in the UK.

Albert also made a commitment to dealers that the company would put more support into the B2B channels than ever before.

He admitted the company has fallen short with its own expectations for support for B2B dealers, as well as providing business-ready devices.

“We are committed to increasing our focus on this channel. We haven’t had the resource because we haven’t been making the money, but we will now have that resource in this area,” he said.

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