London: The chief executive of Sony has signalled that the firm plans to adopt an Apple-like strategy of focusing on the high-end as it aims to turn its smartphone business into source of growth.
Chief executive Kaz Hirai, 52, said he had decided to abandon the development of non-smartphones, a business its defunct joint venture with Ericsson pursued enthusiastically.
Hirai said Sony is out of the feature-phone business and is in the Android-based smartphone business, reports The Telegraph.
Sony caused a splash with the first fruit of its new focus, the waterproof Xperia Z, in Las Vegas last week.
The device was warmly received as evidence as an effort to restore Sony's faded reputation for excellent build quality and design. The minimalist design is the first that has been created wholly by Sony, which ended its partnership with Ericsson slightly over a year ago.
Sony also hopes to use its expertise in cameras - it makes the sensor for Apple's popular iPhone - and in screens to encourage users to adopt its new device.
Sony has a lot of ground to make up on Apple, which despite persistent rumours of a lower-cost iPhone, is still focused on the high-end, and Samsung, which produces dozens of smartphone models, for all pockets.
The Korean giant outsells Sony by six to one. The decision to take on Apple, and Samsung's popular high-end Galaxy range, directly attracted some criticism, however.
Amir Anvarzadeh, an equity manager at BGC Partners said Hirai's plan to move the unit into profits seems to be a pipe-dream. Competition in high-end smartphones is only going to get tougher, he added.
First Published: Friday, January 18, 2013, 19:21