Hideyuki Furumi at the launch of the Sony Xperia960 on April 10. Sony has trimmed product portfolios such as Xperia C and Xperia M lines and has put its basket into Xperia X models. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News


Sony Mobile aims to be back in the black this year and the division is quite optimistic about it after a weak performance last year.

“We are going to see a good year when compared to 2016 with the range of products launched as well as future products. We have received tremendous attention for our flagship Xperia XZ Premium after the announcement at Barcelona Mobile World Congress,” Hideyuki Furumi, executive vice-president for global sales and marketing at Sony Mobile, told Gulf News after launching few smartphones in Dubai on late Monday.

The Japanese giant launched world’s first 4K HDR (High Dynamic Range) smartphone and the first to take ultra-slow motion videos of 960 frames per second, which is four times “slower” than other smartphones on its XZ Premium. Other smartphones have up to 240 frames per second slow motion speed.

HDR videos offer wider range of colours, greater contrast and more details in difficult lighting conditions.

It is also first phone to have the latest Qualcomm chipset apart from Samsung S8 devices to support 1Gbps LTE download speed by tweaking the network, also known as carrier aggregation.

It combines different spectrum transmission bandwidths and is one of several features in LTE Advanced that lets mobile operators bond together disparate spectrum bands to add capacity and provide faster data rates in their networks.

While widespread uptake of this technology is still years away, chipmakers and mobile phone vendors want to stay ahead.

“We are serious about the smartphone division and we are not simply looking at the market share for the sake of market share.

“We do have sizeable business in certain markets around the world and, at the same time, keep innovating around technologies related to mobile business as an overall implication for the future. With everything in future going to be connected, mobile technologies will become an underline necessity for the future,” Furumi said.

The mobile division had undergone a massive restructuring in 2015 and early 2016.

“We have solidified our division and we have bottomed out. We will launch right products in the right markets with right partnership,” he said.

Sony Mobile sold 15.1 million smartphones in 2016, lowest since 2012.

The company has trimmed many of its product portfolios such as Xperia C and Xperia M lines and has put its entire basket into Xperia X models.

The price range of the products starts from $200 and above.

“We’re delivering experiences that connect with users in emotional and meaningful ways like never before,” he said.

He said that Middle East is strategically an important market for Sony, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

“We think that Artificial Intelligence is very important but at the same time, it is difficult to define what AI is right now. We are already in the development of AI in certain apps on our phones. It is premature to say that AI is this,” he said.

He said that XZ Premium learns how you use your phone and adapts and makes recommendations.

Daniel Gleeson, senior analyst for consumer technology at Ovum, told Gulf News that all the innovations Sony has put in on its XZ Premium are extremely small use cases.

“It is almost certain that Sony will suffer a further decline in sales this year. Sony has some excellent camera technology and the super slow motion videos are an impressive feature but it can record only for two seconds, so timing it right is extremely difficult,” he said.

He also added that the 4K display is excellent but it does not come with daily use. Right now, the 4K content is very small.

The smartphone manufacturer also launched three mid-ranges devices — Xperia XA1, XA1 Ultra and L1— during the show.

“We’ve continued to evolve and transform our smartphone portfolio, with an unwavering focus on delivering the most advanced technology in elegantly designed products,” Furumi said.