Sony Mobile has Apple’s number two spot in its sights

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Manufacturer says it has secured its status as a credible number three in the smartphone market and long-term is targeting Apple in second spot

Sony Mobile claims it has reafirmed itself as a “credible player” in the handset market – and has set its sights on toppling Apple as the second-largest handset manufacturer globally.

The claim was made by Sony Mobile president for North West Europe Pierre Perron during Mobile World Congress, where it launched a trio of new devices, the Xperia Z2, M2 and Z2 Tablet (pictured).

He claims last year’s strategy of cementing its position as the third-biggest player in the UK was achieved in Q3 2013.

Perron quoted GfK data from January to back his claim, stating Sony has a UK market share of around 10 per cent, now ahead of Nokia but well behind market leaders Apple and Samsung, which hold around 30 and 34 per cent respectively.

Marketing push
“Everyone can see we are a more credible player in the UK market. The strategy is to take market share out of the big two but it will take time. At the beginning of last year we announced our intention to become the third-biggest smartphone manufacturer in the UK, which is also our intention in the world. As of Q3 we are already there in the UK so are in line with our expectations.”

Perron, sitting alongside marketing director for North West Europe Catherine Cherry, also claimed the firm’s marketing, estimated to have been a company record £40 million in the UK alone last year, has helped triple  brand  awareness – although declined to provide details.

Cherry hinted Sony will again break the bank in order to sustain its acceleration.

“We had a really good presence in the market last year and alongside the products, that really helped us,” she said. “We will be investing again this year, at least as much as we did last year to really make sure we continue that growth.”

Perron added: ”The strategy remains unchanged – driving the brand, invest further in marketing. Our brand awareness tripled last year and we need to continue to drive this.”

New flagship
To help achieve this, the firm unveiled a series of new devices, covering different aspects of the market, high, low and tablet.

The first to be unveiled was the follow up to last year’s flagship Xperia Z1 smartphone, the updated, Z2 – which Perron boldly claimed was better than anything offered by its competitors.

The water and dust proof device features a 5.2 inch HD screen, Android KitKat, a 2.3GHz quad core processor, and a 20.7-megapixel camera with Exmor for mobile imaging and weighs 130g.

EE, Vodafone, O2, Phones 4u and Carphone Warehouse have already announced they will stock the device, with pre-ordering from next month – ahead of the mid-April release date. Pricing to be announced.

Perron commented: “With the Xperia Z2 I truly believe we have something that is better than what our competitors are offering.”

Mid-market matters
Also launched was the mid-end  Xperia M2,  which Sony claims to be the most feature-rich device in its price range – although the price was not revealed.

Sony described it as the slimmest smartphone (8.6mm) with the best camera (eight-megapixels) and largest HD touchscreen (4.8-inches) in the “mid-tier” market. Other features include quad core, 8GB internal (expandable) memory and Android Jelly Bean.

Carphone and EE have confirmed they will stock the device which also launches mid- April.

Sony has also updated its tablet portfolio, announcing the Z2 Tablet – an upgrade to the Tablet Z launched last year.

Sony claims it to be the world’s slimmest (6.4mm) and lightest (426g) waterproof tablet, and the first to feature digital noise cancellation technology.

Other features include 10.1HD screen, 2.3GB quad core processor, 3GB RAM, 8.1-megapixel camera,  available in black and white.

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