Sony Mobile Communications Inc. (Japanese: ソニーモバイルコミュニケーションズ) is a multinational telecommunications company founded on October 1, 2001 as a joint venture between Sony and Ericsson, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan and wholly owned by Sony. It was originally incorporated as Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, and headquartered in London, England, until Sony acquired Ericsson's share in the venture on February 16, 2012.
Sony Mobile has research and development facilities in Lund, Sweden; Beijing, China; Tokyo, Japan; and San Francisco, USA. At its peak in 2007, Sony Ericsson held a 9 percent global market share making it the fourth largest vendor at the time. As of 2017 Sony Mobile held less than 1% global market share but 4.8% in Europe and 16.3% in Japan.
Since the current ownership structure, Sony Mobile exclusively create Android-powered smartphones under the Xperia sub-brand name - it also currently or previously developed tablet computers (Sony Tablet), smartwatches (Sony SmartWatch) and fitness trackers (Sony SmartBand), alongside accessories and software for the devices. The current flagship device is the Sony Xperia 1.
|Sony Mobile Communications Inc.|
Headquarters at Shinagawa Seaside Tower
|Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications (2001-2012)|
|Predecessor||Ericsson Mobile Communications|
|Founded||October 1, 2001|
|Headquarters||Shinagawa Seaside Tower, 4-12-3 Higashi-shinagawa,|
Number of locations
Number of employees
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Swedish company Ericsson had been making mobile cell phones since the 1980s, their first very handheld device being the Hotline Pocket introduced in 1987. In the United States, Ericsson partnered with General Electric in the early nineties as Ericsson Mobile Communications (ECS), primarily to establish a US presence and brand recognition. General Electric eventually left the joint venture.
Ericsson had decided to obtain chips for its phones from a single source—a Philips facility in New Mexico. On March 17, 2000, a fire at the Philips factory contaminated the sterile facility. Philips assured Ericsson and Nokia (their other major customer) that production would be delayed for no more than a week. When it became clear that production would actually be compromised for months, Ericsson was faced with a serious shortage. Nokia had already begun to obtain parts from alternative sources, but Ericsson's position was much worse as production of current models and the launch of new ones was held up.
Ericsson, which had been in the mobile phone market for decades, and was the world's third largest cellular telephone handset maker at the time behind Nokia and Motorola, was struggling with huge losses and decreasing market share. This was partly due to this fire as well as its inability to produce cheaper phones or fashionably-designed phones like Nokia managed to do. Speculation began about a possible sale by Ericsson of its mobile phone division, but the company's president, Kurt Hellström, said it had no plans to do so. Hellström said, "Mobile phones are really a core business for Ericsson. We wouldn't be as successful (in networks) if we didn't have phones".
Sony was a marginal player in the worldwide mobile phone market with a share of less than 1 percent in 2000. By August 2001, the two companies had finalised the terms of the merger announced in April. Ericsson contributed a majority of the Ericsson Mobile Communications company, excluding a minor part spun off as Ericsson Mobile Platforms. Sony contributed its entire handset division. The company was to have an initial workforce of 3,500 employees.
Sony Ericsson's strategy was to release new models capable of digital photography as well as other multimedia capabilities such as downloading and viewing video clips and personal information management capabilities. To this end, it released several new models which had built-in digital camera and colour screen which were novelties at that time - examples include the Sony Ericsson T610, the P800 UIQ smartphone, and later the K700 handset. The joint venture continued to make bigger losses in spite of booming sales - however it paid off as Sony Ericsson made its first profit in 2003 and in the following years steadily increased handset sales. The joint venture was regarded to have been a success.
In 2005, Sony Ericsson agreed to become the global title sponsor for the WTA Tour in a deal worth $88 million US dollars over 6 years. The women's pro tennis circuit was renamed the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Just over a month later on June 7, it announced sponsorship of West Indian batsmen Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan. In October 2005, Sony Ericsson presented the first mobile phone based on UIQ 3, the P990.
In 2007, the company's first 5-Megapixel camera phone, the Sony Ericsson K850i, was announced followed in 2008 by the C905, the world's first 8.1-Megapixel camera phone. At Mobile World Congress 2009, Sony Ericsson unveiled the first 12-Megapixel camera phone, named Satio.
On January 2, 2009, Sony Ericsson announced in Stockholm that it would have some of its mobile phones made in India, and that its two outsourcing partners, Flextronics and Foxconn would manufacture ten million mobile phones per year by 2009. CEO Miles Flint announced at a press conference held with India's communications minister Dayanidhi Maran in Chennai that India was one of the fastest growing markets in the world and a priority market for Sony Ericsson with 105 million users of GSM mobile telephones.
Sony Ericsson's handset shipments fell from a high of 30.8m in Q4 1999 to only 8.1m in Q1 2003. The company had made net losses in six of the 15 quarters and seen its cash reserves shrink from €2.2bn to €599m, after taking a €375m cash injection from its joint owners. The eclipse of the Symbian operating system, initially by Apple's iPhone, and then by Google's Android, has affected Sony Ericsson's position in the market. The company also struggled following the launch of Apple's iPhone in the third quarter of 2007.
Sony Ericsson was overtaken by its South Korean rival LG Electronics in Q1 2008. Sony Ericsson's company's profits fell significantly by 43% to €133 million (approx. US$180 million), sales falling by 8% and market share falling from 9.4% to 7.9%, despite favourable conditions that the handset market was expected to grow by 10% in 2008. Sony Ericsson announced another profit warning in June 2008 and saw net profit crash by 97% in Q2 2008, announcing that it would cut 2,000 jobs, leading to wide fear that Sony Ericsson was on the verge of decline along with its struggling rival, Motorola. In Q3 the profits were much on the same level, however November and December saw increased profits along with new models being released such as the C905 being one of the top sellers across the United Kingdom.
In June 2008, Sony Ericsson had about 8,200 employees, it then launched a cost-cutting program and by the end of 2009 it had slashed its global workforce by around 5,000 people. It has also closed R&D centres in Chadwick House, Birchwood (Warrington) in the UK; Miami, Seattle, San Diego and RTP (Raleigh, NC) in the USA; The Chennai Unit (Tamil Nadu) in India; Hässleholm and Kista in Sweden and operations in the Netherlands. The UIQ centres in London and Budapest were also closed, UIQ was a joint venture with Motorola which began life in the 1990s.
On October 27, 2011, Sony announced that it would acquire Ericsson's stake in Sony Ericsson for €1.05 billion ($1.47 billion), making the mobile handset business a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony. The transaction's completion was expected to occur in January 2012. At their keynote at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, Sony's Kaz Hirai announced that Sony Ericsson would be known simply as Sony Mobile Communications pending completion of the transaction. On January 26, 2012, the European Union approved the buyout. On February 16, 2012, Sony announced it had completed the full acquisition of Sony Ericsson. On January 7, 2013, Sony Mobile completed moving its headquarters from Lund, Sweden to Tokyo, Japan in order to fully integrate with its parent company. The first Sony-only mobile was the Sony Xperia S at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. Sony Mobile Communications decided to phase out all the feature (non-smart) phones by September 2012 and focus completely on the smartphones segment.
On July 2, 2012, Sony announced it was buying Gaikai, a cloud service to support its expansion into the cloud gaming realm. Sony paid a reported $380 million to acquire Gaikai. The Sony Ericsson Liquid Energy Logo, which was the hallmark logo used on Sony Mobile products up until the 2012 series of phones, was replaced with a new power button designed as the new signature hallmark to easily identify a Sony phone and this debuted with the 2013 series of Xperia mobile phones. The last phones to feature the Liquid Energy logo were the Sony Xperia T and Sony Xperia TX, and the first phones without featuring it were the Sony Xperia J and Sony Xperia V. Both were unveiled at the IFA 2012. At the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show the Sony Xperia Z and Sony Xperia ZL were announced, followed by the Sony Xperia Z1, unveiled during a press conference in IFA 2013, the Sony Xperia Z2 during the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, and the Sony Xperia Z3 in IFA 2014.
On October 30, 2014, Sony announced that Senior Vice President of Corporate Planning, Finance and New Business Creation Department Hiroki Totoki will replace Kunimasa Suzuki as President and CEO of Sony Mobile. Communications with effect from November 16, 2014. Suzuki subsequently became the Group Executive of Sony Corporation after his departure from Sony Mobile Communications.
In the last quarter of 2015, Sony Mobile had the highest per-handset-profit and average selling price of all major Android handset manufacturers. However in terms of market share, Sony Mobile dropped out the top 10 smartphone vendors globally for the first time in the first quarter of the year.
Sony Mobile has been the only major smartphone OEM that has given support to developing communities of smaller, hacker-focused mobile operating systems during this time. In 2013 Sony released an experimental Firefox OS ROM for the Sony Xperia E device. In 2017 Sony got Sailfish OS into its Open Devices program. As a result, the Sailfish software has been officially ported to many Xperia devices.
On March 26, 2019, Sony announced that it will be combining its Imaging Products & Solutions (IP&S) Business, Home Entertainment & Sound (HE&S) Business, and Mobile Communications (MC) Business into a single Electronics Products & Solutions (EP&S) Business, effective April 1, 2019.
In 2009, Sony Ericsson announced that it was moving its North American headquarters from Research Triangle Park, North Carolina to Atlanta. The headquarters move was part of a plan to reduce its workforce, then 10,000 employees, by 20%. As of that year, Sony Ericsson had 425 employees in Research Triangle Park; the staff had been reduced by hundreds due to layoffs. Stacy Doster, a spokesperson of Sony Ericsson, said that the proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport's flights to Latin America and the operations of AT&T Mobility influenced the decision to move the USA headquarters. Sony Ericsson will close the Research Triangle site. On August 23, 2012, Sony announced heavy cuts of their work force in Lund, Sweden. September 2014 Sony announced taking a €1.3 billion impairment charge on the Sony Mobile division and cutting another 15% of jobs - equivalenting about 1000 employees - at Sony Mobile.
Sony Ericsson (originally Ericsson) was part of the Symbian Ltd. consortium and supported the UIQ pen-based touch interface for Symbian OS. The first Sony Ericsson UIQ smartphone was the Sony Ericsson P800 in 2002. Sony Ericsson joined the Symbian Foundation in 2008 and soon UIQ Technology went bankrupt - the Sony Ericsson Satio was released in 2009 running on Symbian^1, which would be succeeded by Sony Ericsson Vivaz in 2010. For the Japanese market, Sony Ericsson also produced Linux- and Symbian-based MOAP handsets for NTT DoCoMo, as well as REX OS for au/KDDI.
Sony Ericsson launched their first Windows Mobile device in 2008, the Xperia X1, at the 2008 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which carried the Windows Mobile operating system with a Sony Ericsson panel interface and was manufactured by HTC. They would further develop two more Windows Mobile devices: Sony Ericsson Xperia X2 and Sony Ericsson Aspen in 2010. By this time, Sony Ericsson switched all its focus on Google's Android operating system. The company's CEO did confirm a Sony Ericsson Windows Phone device for 2011. A prototype exists and was leaked on the internet in 2011, but no Windows Phone device was ever released.
Since 2012 all products by Sony Mobile have been in the Xperia range and running the Android OS - the Xperia X10 model launched in 2010 was the first to feature this. In 2011 Sony Ericsson carried a range of mid and high-end Android smartphones all using the same SoC, only differentiating in form factor, screen size and multimedia capabilities. Although in 2012 the phones already carried the Sony brand on them, they were still (mostly) developed by Sony Ericsson, as can be seen from the green logo on the back of handsets like the Xperia S and Xperia T.
The line-up in 2013 brought an entirely different design of phones, first seen on the Xperia Z smartphone, and called 'OmniBalance' (roughly translated as 'balance everywhere') by Sony. In 2014 Sony stated to be focusing more on the high-end phone market and reducing the number of low and mid-end products. The first model launched in 2015 was the Xperia Z3+, featuring updated internals in a body similar to the Xperia Z3.
Sony (then Sony Ericsson) has been making Bluetooth enabled watches from as early as 2006. In 2010 the LiveView smartwatch was launched, featuring a colour OLED display that let the user view notifications and control the music player. Its successor was the Sony SmartWatch in 2012, of which two newer revisions have been made since.
In 2014 a fitness tracking band, named SmartBand, was introduced. The device's data is accessed using an Android application named Lifelog, which presents statistics about their everyday activities. In 2015, a successor to the SmartBand was introduced, named SmartBand 2, which can track user's heart rate, movements, sleep, and the moments they are calm or excited.
In 2011, Sony Ericsson announced the first PlayStation Certified phone, the Xperia Play which meant that it had access to PlayStation Mobile games. The previously released Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc and Xperia acro became the next PlayStation Certified devices followed by the Sony Xperia S, Xperia ion and other Sony Tablets.
Sony Mobile offers a wide range of applications, ranging from music and videos to camera and gaming apps. Some of Sony Mobile's most popular apps include:
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On 2 October 2006, Sony Ericsson adopted a new corporate and advertising identity inspired by I Love New York in which the circular Sony Ericsson icon is placed instead of a heart meaning "love". This would then be followed by words, initially simple ones such as "music" or "photography" and later by for instance "my hip hop loud" or "life captured". The branding was designed by the Wolff Olins consultancy. The campaign lasted until 2009 when it was replaced by multicoloured Sony Ericsson icons using Sony's slogan "make.believe".
During 2010, in 11 months, Sony Ericsson's Facebook fan count rose from 300,000 to 4 million to become the 40th-largest brand on the social networking site. The company aims to capitalise on this fanbase and increase engagement by profiling these fans and matching them to dedicated content. It will also analyse the top commenters on the Facebook page and ensure engagement through special content and offering these fans the chance to visit Sony Ericsson offices.
From 2007 to 2014, Sony Ericsson / Sony Mobile sponsored the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Miami. According to the head of global marketing partnerships, Stephan Croix, “our sport sponsorships allow us to promote our phones in a subtle and authentic way to our fanbase. Our promise to fans is to enrich their experience during the game but also before and after.” Sony Ericsson Open was renamed to Sony Open Tennis in 2013.
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The Sony Ericsson Xperia acro is an Android smartphone produced by Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications in Japan. The device has several additional functions for Japan customers from Xperia Arc. It was launched on 24 June 2011.Sony Mobile Communications (formerly Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications) released the Sony Ericsson Xperia acro HD as succeeding model of Xperia acro.Sony Xperia
Xperia () is the brand name of smartphones and tablets from Sony Mobile. The name Xperia is derived from the word "experience", and was first used in the Xperia X1 tagline, "I Xperia the best".
Sony Mobile was previously known globally as Sony Ericsson before re-branding in 2012, as a result of the mobile phone manufacturer being taken over and solely owned by Sony.Sony Xperia C3
The Sony Xperia C3 is a touchscreen-enabled Android smartphone designed, developed and manufactured by Sony Mobile Communications. Codenamed "Wukong" and the successor to Sony Xperia C, it features a Snapdragon 400 processor.The Xperia C3 was announced on July 8, 2014, marketed as the "world's best selfie smartphone". Unlike other Sony smartphones, it has a 5MP front camera, as well as a 8MP rear camera. It was released in August 2014, starting in China and followed by other markets.Sony Xperia C4
The Sony Xperia C4 is mid-range Android smartphone developed and manufactured by Sony and it serves as the successor of the Xperia C3. The phone was unveiled on 6 May 2015, and it is marketed as the "Selfie Smartphone". Three months later, Sony unveiled its successor, the Xperia C5 Ultra.The key features of the phone are the 25 mm 5 megapixel front camera and 1.7 GHz octa-core processor powered by Mediatek MT6752.Sony Xperia E1
The Sony Xperia E1 is a low range Android smartphone designed and manufactured by Sony. Under the codename Falcon SS and board Shuang, it was announced on January 14, 2014, along with the Sony Xperia T2 Ultra. Released during the first quarter of 2014, the Xperia E1 has a dual SIM variant named the Xperia E1 Dual.Sony Xperia E5
The Sony Xperia E5 is an Android smartphone manufactured by Sony Mobile Communications. It was announced in May 2016 and was released in June 2016.Sony Xperia Ion
Sony Xperia Ion is an Android smartphone developed and manufactured by Sony Mobile Communications. It was launched at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show with Sony Xperia S.Sony Xperia SP
The Sony Xperia SP (codenamed "HuaShan") is a mid-range smartphone from Sony Mobile. It was announced on 18 March 2013. It is powered by a 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro dual-core processor. It has 1 GB RAM, 8-megapixel camera with Exmor RS sensor and a 4.6-inch reality display with a 720p resolution with Sony's Mobile Bravia Engine 2.Sony Xperia T
Sony Xperia T (renamed Sony Xperia TL in the United States) is an Android smartphone manufactured by Sony Mobile. Introduced on 29 August 2012, this is the last Sony Mobile's device ever introduced to feature the Sony Ericsson's liquid energy logo. It was released in October 2012.Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
The Sony Xperia T2 Ultra is an Android smartphone developed by Sony Mobile Communications. It was announced in January 2014 and was released in March 2014.Sony Xperia V
The Sony Xperia V is a smartphone designed, developed and marketed by Sony Mobile. Unveiled on 29 August 2012 in Berlin, the Xperia V belongs to Sony's handset line up of the second half of 2012, which includes the flagship Xperia T and the entry-level Xperia J. The 4.3-inch (110 mm) device employs a 1280×720 (720p) pixel resolution display, a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and a 13-megapixel camera, while protected by a water-resistant outer skin. This is the first Sony Mobile's device alongside the Xperia J that not feature the Sony Ericsson's liquid energy logo.Sony Xperia X
The Sony Xperia X is an Android smartphone produced by Sony. Part of the Sony Xperia X series, the device was unveiled along with the Sony Xperia XA and Sony Xperia X Performance at MWC 2016 on February 22, 2016. The Sony Xperia X series will replace the former Sony Xperia Z series, as confirmed by Sony Mobile's senior product marketing manager Jun Makino in February 2016.At the 2017 Investor Day event, Sony announced it would be dropping its "premium standard" phones (one step below the flagship premium models), including the Xperia X and X Compact. The flagship X Performance and XZ phones will continue, as well as the XA1, XA1 Ultra, and the upcoming XZ1 and XZ1 Compact.Sony Xperia XA Ultra
The Sony Xperia XA Ultra is an Android smartphone manufactured by Sony Mobile Communications. It was announced in May 2016 and was released in July 2016.Sony Xperia ZL
The Sony Xperia ZL (C650x), marketed as Sony Xperia ZQ in Brazil, is a touchscreen enabled, full HD Android smartphone designed, developed, and marketed by Sony Mobile. The ZL was announced by Sony at CES 2013. The device was launched with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. This is among a few phones with HDR video taking capability. This phone comes with a full HD display (1920x1080) with a ppi of approximately 443.
The Xperia ZL is a compact and cheaper variant of the Sony Xperia Z. The ZL compromises water and dust proofing, as well as design language, for a thinner frame, an IR blaster, a dedicated camera button and a cheaper build.Sony Xperia Z Ultra
The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is a 2013 phablet designed and manufactured by Sony Mobile.
Codenamed Togari and marketed as "the world's slimmest Full HD smartphone", it is the first phone that allows users to take notes or draw on with a regular pen or pencil.Like the Sony Xperia Z and Z1, the phone is dust protected, low pressure water jet protected, and waterproof, allowing immersion under 1.5 metre of water for up to 30 minutes (IP55/58), as well as shatterproof and scratch-resistant, making it the world's thinnest IP certified smartphone.Sony Xperia acro S
The Sony Xperia acro S (known as the Sony Xperia acro HD in Japan) is a dust- and water-resistant Android smartphone produced and developed by Sony Mobile Communications.Sony Xperia miro
The Sony Xperia miro is a mid-range Android smartphone manufactured and developed by Sony Mobile Communications. The device was released globally during the third quarter of 2012. The device is available in colours black, pink, white with silver and white with gold. However, not all colours are available in all countries.Sony Xperia tipo
The Sony Xperia tipo is a mid-range Android smartphone manufactured by Sony Mobile Communications. The device was released globally during August 2012. There is a dual-SIM version of the Xperia tipo available in certain countries known as the Xperia tipo dual.Walkman
Walkman is a series of portable media players and some Xperia mobile phones manufactured by Sony. The original Walkman, released in 1979, was a portable cassette player that changed listening habits by allowing people to listen to music on the move. It was devised by Sony cofounder Masaru Ibuka, who felt Sony's existing portable player was too unwieldy and expensive. A prototype was built from a modified Sony Pressman, a compact tape recorder designed for journalists.
The Walkman was followed by a series of international releases; as overseas sales companies objected to the Japanese-English name, it was sold under several names, including Soundabout in the United States, Freestyle in Sweden, and Stowaway in the UK. Eventually "Walkman" caught on globally and Sony used the name worldwide. Sony continues to use the "Walkman" brand for most of its portable audio devices.
Sony Xperia mobile phones
See also: List of Sony Xperia phones
|2008 – 2010|
|Technologies and brands|
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Major mobile device companies
Companies with an annual revenue of over US$3 billion