We were only able to spend a few minutes with Sony’s new Xperia P smartphone as we rushed from Sony’s press conference to HTC’s press conference on Sunday, and we didn’t get any time at all with the Xperia U. Thanks to a slightly lighter event scheduled on Monday, we were able to make it over to Sony’s booth and spend some quality time with its new smartphones. These are the first smartphones that will be launched by the new Sony Mobile Communications unit that picks up where Sony Ericsson left off, and to be frank, we’re a bit concerned. This pair of Android phones is well-made and we like what Sony has done to its UI atop Android 4.0, but we’re still seeing some things that concern us. Check out our hands-on photos in the gallery linked below, and then hit the break for our initial impressions of the Xperia P and Xperia U smartphones.
First and foremost, these smartphones will hit the market in a very Sony Ericsson-like fashion. They will both launch running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and Sony has stated that the Xperia P and Xperia U will each receive an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich some time in the second quarter. Slow software updates have historically been a big issue for Sony Ericsson’s Android phones, so this definitely isn’t a great way to instill confidence in users who might still have a bad taste in their mouths.
The devices themselves are solid phones, however. They share a very similar design identity that includes the transparent light bar near the bottom of each handset, and they also sport Reality Displays that make use of Sony’s Bravia engine.
The larger of the two phones is the Xperia P, and it features a 4-inch display with “WhiteMagic” display technology that Sony says is ultra-bright and power efficient. After spending some time with the phone we can definitely confirm that the screen is extremely bright, and colors don’t get washed out at all as the brightness increases. The 1GHz dual-core processor doesn’t really do Android 4.0 justice on this handset, but hopefully things will be a bit smoother in the release version of the software.
The Xperia U features a significantly smaller form factor and a 3.5-inch Reality Display. It’s powered by the same dual-core processor and it it suffers from the same occasional hiccups that we saw with the Xperia P. The display isn’t quite as impressive as the panel on the Xperia P unfortunately, but beyond that the two phones are very similar.
We’re looking forward to spending some more time with these phones but in the mean time, be sure to check out our hands-on gallery above.
We’re here in sunny Barcelona, Spain on day 0 of the annual Mobile World Congress trade show — yes, several companies couldn’t even wait for day 1 to hold their press conferences — and Sony’s media event has just wrapped up. In case you missed it, Sony unveiled two devices at this year’s show, one of which was the sleek new Xperia P smartphone that will launch in the second quarter. The handset’s design is reminiscent of earlier Xperia handsets, but like the other members of the “Xperia NXT” family, it features a clear strip near the bottom of the phone that adds a variety of unique lighting features to the device. The phone’s 3.5-inch display leaves a bit to be desired compared to market leaders like Samsung, and colors weren’t nearly as vivid as they are on phones like the Galaxy S II or Galaxy Nexus. The Xperia P will also launch with a dual-core 1GHz processor while the competition is rolling out devices with NVIDIA’s 1.5GHz quad-core chipset, and the difference is noticeable; the Xperia P isn’t laggy per se, but moving around Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich feels a bit slow compared to some other phones. We weren’t able to spend much time with the Xperia P — or any time at all with the Xperia U — but check out a few photos in the gallery below and tune in for HTC’s press conference, which is scheduled to kick off at 2:30 p.m. EST / 11:30 a.m.
Sony on Thursday announced the transaction to acquire Ericsson’s 50% stake in Sony Ericsson has been completed. Sony and Ericsson announced the deal last October, which was worth €1.05 billion in cash and made Sony Ericsson a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony. The company will be renamed to Sony Mobile Communications and will “further integrate the mobile phone business as a vital element of its electronics business, with the aim of accelerating convergence between Sony’s lineup of network enabled consumer electronics products, including smart phones, tablets, TVs and PCs.” Read on for Sony’s press release.
Sony Completes Full Acquisition of Sony Ericsson
Sony to Rename the Company Sony Mobile Communications and Accelerate Business Integration
February 16, 2012, Tokyo, Japan – Sony Corporation (“Sony”) today announced that the transaction to acquire Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson’s (“Ericsson”) 50% stake in Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB (“Sony Ericsson”) has been completed as of February 15, 2012 (Central European time). This marks the completion of the transaction jointly announced by Sony and Ericsson on October 27, 2011, and makes Sony Ericsson a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony.
Sony will rename Sony Ericsson “Sony Mobile Communications”, and further integrate the mobile phone business as a vital element of its electronics business, with the aim of accelerating convergence between Sony’s lineup of network enabled consumer electronics products, including smart phones, tablets, TVs and PCs.
Global smartphone sales increased 47.3% to 149 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to market research firm Gartner. Total smartphone sales for the full year increased 58% to 472 million units and accounted for 31% of all mobile devices sold. The record sales were led by Apple’s iPhone, which sold 37 million units and helped the company capture a 23.8% market share in the fourth quarter. Apple was also the top smartphone vendor in 2011, with a 19% market share. “Western Europe and North America led most of the smartphone growth for Apple during the fourth quarter of 2011,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. “In Western Europe the spike in iPhone sales in the fourth quarter saved the overall smartphone market after two consecutive quarters of slow sales.” Samsung continued its success with LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Research In Motion recording disappointing results. Both ZTE and Huawei dominated the low-end to mid-range market and became — along with Apple — the fastest-growing vendors in the fourth quarter of 2011. “These vendors expanded their market reach and kept on improving the user experience of their Android devices,” said Cozza. Read on for Gartner’s press release.
Gartner Says Worldwide Smartphone Sales Soared in Fourth Quarter of 2011 With 47 Percent Growth
Apple Became Top Smartphone Vendor in Fourth Quarter of 2011 and in 2011 as a Whole
Egham, UK, February 15, 2012—
Worldwide smartphone sales to end users soared to 149 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 47.3 per cent increase from the fourth quarter of 2010, according to Gartner, Inc. Total smartphone sales in 2011 reached 472 million units and accounted for 31 percent of all mobile devices sales, up 58 percent from 2010.
Smartphone volumes during the quarter rose due to record sales of Apple iPhones. As a result, Apple became the third-largest mobile phone vendor in the world, overtaking LG. Apple also became the world’s top smartphone vendor, with a market share of 23.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, and the top smartphone vendor for 2011 as a whole, with a 19 percent market share. “Western Europe and North America led most of the smartphone growth for Apple during the fourth quarter of 2011,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. “In Western Europe the spike in iPhone sales in the fourth quarter saved the overall smartphone market after two consecutive quarters of slow sales.”
The quarter saw Samsung and Apple cement their positions further at the top of the market as their brands and new products clearly stood out. LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Research In Motion (RIM) again recorded disappointing results as they struggled to improve volumes and profits significantly. These vendors were also exposed to a much stronger threat from the midrange and low end of the smartphone market as ZTE and Huawei continued to gain share during the quarter.
Worldwide mobile device sales to end users totaled 476.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 5.4 percent increase from the same period in 2010 (see Table 1). In 2011 as a whole, end users bought 1.8 billion units, an 11.1 percent increase from 2010 (see Table 2). “Expectations for 2012 are for the overall market to grow by about 7 percent, while smartphone growth is expected to slow to around 39 percent,” said Annette Zimmermann, principal research analyst at Gartner.
In the fourth quarter of 2011, Nokia’s mobile phone sales numbered 111.7 million units, an 8.7 percent decrease from last year. “Samsung closed the gap with Nokia in overall market share,” said Ms. Cozza. “Samsung profited from strong smartphone sales of 34 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011. The troubled economic environment in Europe and Nokia’s weakened brand status posed challenges that were hard to overcome in just one quarter. However, Nokia proved its ability to execute and deliver on time with its new Lumia 710 and 800 handsets. Nokia will have to continue to offer aggressive prices to encourage communications service providers (CSPs) to add its products to portfolios currently dominated by Android-based devices.”
Apple had an exceptional fourth quarter, selling 35.5 million smartphones to end users, a 121.4 percent increase year on year. Apple’s continued attention to channel management helped it take full advantage of the strong quarter to further close the gap with Samsung, which saw some inventory build up for its smartphone range. Apple’s strong performance will continue into the first quarter of 2012 as availability of the iPhone 4S widens. However, since Apple will not benefit from delayed purchases as it did in the fourth quarter of 2011, Gartner analysts expect its sales to decline quarter-on-quarter.
After Apple, ZTE and Huawei were the fastest-growing vendors in the fourth quarter of 2011. “These vendors expanded their market reach and kept on improving the user experience of their Android devices,” said Ms. Cozza.
In the fourth quarter of 2011, ZTE moved into fourth place in the global handset market. ZTE posted a strong smartphone sales increase of 71 percent sequentially. The company was able to extend its portfolio to three CSPs in its home market and benefited from consumers’ interest in low-cost smartphones. Huawei moved ahead of LG in the Android marketplace to become a top-four Android manufacturer, thanks to strong smartphone growth in the quarter. Huawei has made significant progress in moving to its own-branded devices, and it has continued to expand its portfolio into higher tiers as its tries to build more iconic products.
RIM dropped to the No. 7 spot in the fourth quarter of 2011, with a 10.7 percent decline. RIM’s delay with its BlackBerry 10 platform will further impair its ability to retain users. However, RIM’s biggest challenge is still to expand the developer base around its ecosystem and convince developers to work and innovate with BlackBerry 10.
In the smartphone OS market (see Table 3), competition between Google and Apple intensified. Android’s share declined slightly sequentially. This was due to strong iPhone sales, driven in particular by the iPhone 4S in mature markets and the weakness of key Android vendors as they struggled to create unique and differentiated devices. Samsung remained the main contributor to Android share gains in the second half of 2011. iOS’s market share grew 8 percentage points year-on-year, but Gartner analysts expect Apple’s share to drop in the next couple of quarters as the upgrade cycle to the iPhone 4S slows. Nokia’s first Windows Phone smartphones, the Lumia 710 and 800, made their debut, but, as expected, sales were not enough to prevent a fall in Microsoft’s smartphone market share.
Next month we’re sure to hear about the latest smartphones from several of the world’s largest phone makers during Mobile World Congress, however that hasn’t stopped a number of leaks from occurring ahead of the show. The latest is a possible image of what is presumed to be Sony’s upcoming ST25i “Kumquat” Android smartphone. Specs are still slim at this point and we’re a bit suspicious since it still features the “Sony Ericsson” branding, but this could easily be an early prototype since even the smartphones on display at CES featured the Sony Ericsson name. Sony recently announced it was purchasing Ericsson’s stake in the Sony Ericsson joint venture and its newest phones are now branded “Sony,” but Xperia Blog, which leaked the image, said Sony may still launch devices with Sony Ericsson branding.
Apple plucked a high-ranking executive from the folding Sony Ericsson Joint Venture, 9to5Mac has learned. President of Sony Ericsson U.S. and Head of Region North America Anderson Teixeira will be heading Apple’s Latin America region. He is leaving Sony Ericsson after a decade at the JV.
Sony is buying out Ericsson’s piece of the venture and the group is folding into Sony Electronics.
Teixeira started at Apple this month.
Internally at Apple, he is “Latin America General Manager,” but to the greater world he’s “Head of Latin America.” He will be operating out of Apple’s small Coral Gables Florida office at 1 Alhambra Plaza Suite 700. He has nine reports at that office.
A mid-2009 profile listed some background on his appointment at Sony:
Anderson Teixeira was based at the company’s US operations in Raleigh, North Carolina. A native of Brazil, Teixeira has been part of Sony Ericsson since the formation of the joint venture in 2001. He has led the company’s operations in Latin America, as Head of Region Latin America, based in Miami, Florida, and subsequently in Western Europe, based in Munich. As President of Sony Ericsson US, Teixeira will report to Sony Ericsson President Dick Komiyama. In his role as Head of Region North America, Teixeira will have overall responsibility for Sony Ericsson’s sales and marketing operations in the US and Canada.
It is not immediately clear who Teixeira will report to but we will update that information as it becomes available.
Apple’s Latin America presence has been growing with the iPhone spreading across carriers like wildfire and even a Foxconn iPhone production line opening in Teixeira’s native Brazil.
Videos of Teixeira discussing Sony operations are embedded below:
- Sony Ericsson teases ‘something big’ to be released at CES (9to5google.com)
Sony Ericsson on Wednesday posted a €247 million loss, blaming “intense competition, price erosion and restructuring charges” for its poor results. While the Swedish joint venture did continue to make headway in the smartphone market, noting a 67% increase in Android-based Xperia smartphone sales compared to the fourth quarter in 2012, the average selling price of its phones dipped 14% sequentially and operating margin plummeted to -10% excluding restructuring fees. Mobile phone shipments were down to 9 million from 11.2 million units in the same quarter a year earlier, and revenue slid to €1.29 billion from €1.53 billion in the fourth quarter 2010. ”Our fourth quarter results reflected intense competition, unfavorable macroeconomic conditions and the effects of a natural disaster in Thailand this quarter,” Sony Ericsson CEO Bert Nordberg said. For the full year, the company reported an operating loss of €243 million on €5.21 billion in sales. Sony Ericsson’s press release follows below.
Sony Ericsson reports fourth quarter and full year results
19 January 2012
- Q4 loss reflects intense competition, price erosion and restructuring charges
- 65% year-on-year increase in Android-based XperiaTM smartphone quarterlysales
- 28 million Xperia smartphones shipped to date
The consolidated financial summary for Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB (Sony Ericsson) for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2011 is as follows*:
Number of units shipped (million)
Average selling price (Euro)
Sales (Euro m.)
Gross margin (%)
Operating income (Euro m.)
Operating margin (%)
Restructuring charges (Euro m.)
Operating income excl. restructuring charges (Euro m.)
Operating margin excl. restructuring charges (%)
Income before taxes (IBT) (Euro m.)
IBT excl. restructuring charges (Euro m.)
Net income (Euro m.)
*All amounts are according to Swedish GAAP.
Bert Nordberg, President and CEO of Sony Ericsson commented: “Our fourth quarter results reflected intense competition, unfavorable macroeconomic conditions and the effects of a natural disaster in Thailand this quarter. We are aligning our business to drive profitability and to meet customer needs. In spite of these challenges, throughout 2011 we’ve shifted our business from feature phones to smartphones, and our Android-based smartphone sales in the quarter increased by 65% year-on-year. The Xperia portfolio, including the recently announced Xperia NXT series, will serve as a cornerstone of our smartphone lineup in 2012.”
Units shipped during the quarter were 9 million, a 20% decrease year-on-year and a 5% decrease compared to last quarter. The year-on-year and sequential declines reflect a significantly lower number of feature phones shipped, partially offset by an increase in smartphone shipments. Sony Ericsson has shipped 28 million Xperia smartphones to date.
Average selling price (ASP) for the quarter was Euro 143, up 5% year-on-year but down 14% sequentially. The year-on-year increase is due to the shift to smartphones and geographic mix. The sequential decrease in ASP is attributed to geographic and product mix, including declining prices of products launched earlier in the year, and the absence of new products introduced in the fourth quarter.
Sales for the quarter were approximately Euro 1.3 billion, down 16% year-on-year and 19% quarter over quarter. The year-on-year decline reflects the decrease of feature phone sales which was only partially offset by an increase in smartphone sales. The sequential decline is due to geographic and product mix, resulting in lower sales of both smartphones and feature phones. Fourth quarter sales were negatively impacted by macroeconomic challenges in advanced economies contributing to weaker holiday sales, and certain component shortages from the flooding in Thailand in late October and early November 2011. Xperia smartphones accounted for approximately 80% of total sales in the fourth quarter.
The gross margin for the quarter was 24%, a decrease of 6 percentage points year-on-year and 3 percentage points from the previous quarter. The year-on-year and sequential decreases are attributed to product and geographic mix. Fourth quarter gross margin was also adversely affected by intense smartphone price competition which more than offset the benefit of royalty and other items.
Loss before taxes, excluding restructuring charges, was Euro 154 million for the quarter, compared to income of Euro 39 million for the same quarter last year and of Euro 31 million in the previous quarter. The year-on-year and sequential declines are due to lower gross margin and increased operational expenses, including higher development and selling expenses.
In December 2011, Sony Ericsson launched a restructuring program including global workforce reductions to reduce costs and drive competitiveness. Restructuring charges for the quarter are Euro 93 million and the program is estimated to be completed by the end of 2012.
The quarter ended in a net loss of Euro 207 million, compared to a net income of Euro 8 million in the same quarter of the previous year, and essentially a break even result in the previous quarter.
Cash flow from operating activities during the quarter was negative Euro 26 million. External borrowings were Euro 19 million during the quarter. Total borrowings were Euro 742 million at the end of the quarter. Total cash balances at December 31, 2011 were Euro 442 million.
Sony Ericsson estimates that its share of the global Android-based smartphone market was 10% in volume and 7% in value during the quarter and 10% in volume and 10% in value for the full year.
Sony Ericsson estimates that the global smartphone market for the full year 2011 increased by 60% in volume to 463 million units. Sony Ericsson estimates strong growth in the smartphone market in 2012.
In October 2011 Sony Corporation (“Sony”) and Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (“Ericsson”) announced that Sony will acquire Ericsson’s stake in Sony Ericsson and that Sony Ericsson will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony. The transaction is expected to close in late January to February, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
The liquid identity is a registered trademark of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB. Xperia™ is a trademark of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB. Sony is a registered trademark of Sony Corporation. Ericsson is a registered trademark of Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved and subject to change without prior notice.
Smartphone maker Sony Ericsson this morning posted a pre-tax loss of 247 million euros ($318 million) in the fourth quarter of 2011, after reporting a profit of 31 million euros in Q3 2011. The company, a 50:50 joint-venture between Sony and Ericsson, blames “intense competition”, “price erosion” and effects from the flooding in Thailand as some of the main drivers for the drop.
Sales for the quarter were approximately 1.3 billion euros, down 16 percent year-on-year.
The fourth quarter of last year ended in a net loss of 207 million euros ($266.5 million), compared to a net income of 8 million euros ($10.3 million) in the same quarter of the previous year.
Analysts were actually expecting a modest profit from the company, so this is quite a shock.
Sony will soon acquire Ericsson’s 50 percent share of Sony Ericsson in a deal valued at 1.05 billion euros – the transaction is expected to take place “late January to February 2012″.
Sony Ericsson’s huge loss in Q4 2011 will impact Ericsson’s operating income with SEK -1.1 b. (125 million euros) in the quarter, the latter company said this morning.
Update with more information from Sony Ericsson’s earnings report:
Its gross margin for the quarter was 24 percent, a decrease of 6 points year-on-year and 3 percentage points from the previous quarter.
The company shipped 9 million units during Q4 2011, a 20 percent decrease year-on-year and a 5 percent decrease compared to Q3. Sony Ericsson has shipped 28 million Xperia (Android) smartphones to date.
Even though Sony Ericsson intends to go all-smartphone during 2012, feature phones still make up some 20 percent of its sales volumes.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Sony Ericsson. The phones are fine, I guess, and I certainly commend the company’s drive to differentiate. The Xperia Play is a great concept but it failed to really take off.
Today, however, I was very impressed after taking a good hard look at the new Xperia S. It’s not the thinnest phone at .4 inches, nor does it have the biggest screen, but it is something fresh which is more than I can say for most Android Gingerbread phones.
The phone is very boxy, and even has an extra bit of hardware on the bottom that seemingly has no purpose. Still, I don’t mind it since it adds something new to the look of the phone with that thin strip of clear plastic. I also tend to frown upon white phones, but the Xperia S is a sexy little beast in white.
Spec-wise, this new phone continues to impress with a 4.3-inch HD Reality Display powered by Sony’s Bravia Engine. The screen boasts a 720p resolution, joining ranks with the Galaxy Nexus, the LG Spectrum, and the HTC Rezound.
Under the hood you’ll find 1GB of RAM, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and a memory card slot with room for up to a 32GB card.
Another impressive feature of the Xperia S is its 12-megapixel rear-facing camera that is capable of video capture in 1080p, along with a front-facing shooter for video chat.
All in all, the phone feels great in the hand and looks hot. The corners are a bit “sharp” but not at all uncomfortable, and the purposeless extra hardware along the bottom doesn’t make the phone cumbersome at all. Oh, and if gaming’s your thing than you’ll be happy to know that this phone is Playstation-certified.
Sony promises that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will head to the S eventually, but we have no word on pricing or availability yet so stay tuned.