Sony is tired of being in the shadows of the iPhones, Androids and the Galaxies of the world and has apparently decided they are going all-in announcing the Xperia Z2 smartphone. Sony has typically been too invested in other business ventures to truly delve into the smartphone game, but those days are nearing an end. Early impressions are strong after Sony Mobile introduced the Z2 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, basically the Super Bowl of the tech and mobile industry.
A driving force behind Sony’s newfound smartphone venture is the presence of the new Samsung Galaxy S5, which was disclosed just moments after the Z2 in Barcelona. The reason for the budding tech rivalry was that Sony felt the need to make sure that the world knows who broke ground on waterproof phones. The Xperia Z2 is also resistant to dust.
Sony knows they are late to the smartphone party, so marketing the Z2 and the M2, also known as the phone that will actually break if you chuck it into the ocean, is crucial. The company has done that by attaching it to arguably their biggest brand, the Playstation 4. Sony offered slashed prices on the Z2 for anyone who bought it alongside a PS4.
“It’s a good way to bring this into the mainstream,” said Calum MacDougall, the director of Xperia’s marketing team to CNET during an interview at the congress. MacDougall also revealed one of the biggest areas of marketing on the horizon which is one of Sony’s sponsors, the FIFA World Cup.
The Xperia Z2 is set to be launched globally in March of 2014, so Sony has moved quickly to put themselves on the map. The slightly large 5.2″ phone has a waterproof and dust-resistant screen that features a pristine 20.7 camera and video recorder, much like Sony uses in its traditional cameras. The screen itself incorporates many of the same technologies as Bravia TV.
From the other side of the spectrum, Sony made it known that something was brewing when they announced months ago that big changes for the company were coming. USA Today reported that Sony has just made the decision to close 20 of its retail stores in America. Given that Sony only has 31 stores to begin with, the news is troubling considering that the company is eliminating over 1,000 jobs. USA Today also noted that Sony is preparing for an expected $1.1 billion loss in this fiscal year. The company defended the move by claiming that closing the stores was imperative in order to grow in the future.
CNET also noted the troubles in Sony’s lack of partners. Because the Z1S has already been released earlier in the year, it is unlikely the Z2 will catch on in America right away. Even though the phone is being produced for every carrier in the US, only T-Mobile has an active partnership with Sony. The closing of 20 of their 31 stores nationwide does not help, either.
Sony is going all-in with their announcement of the Xperia Z2 smartphone. The closing of 20 of their retail stores coupled with their lack of partners has left them with no possible escape route, meaning that the days of Sony conquering strictly cameras, video games and televisions are over. Time will tell just how effective Sony can be in the smartphone game.
By Justin Hussong