Sony to exit feature phone business to focus on smartphones

Sony is looking to make more money out of its mobile phone business and one way of doing that is to exit the feature phone business. According to Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai, the company will focus on high-end devices. “We basically are out of the feature-phone business and in the Android-based smartphone business,” Hirai explained. “We are more in toward the high end of the market as opposed to trying to get into the commoditized portion.”

With Sony having recorded losses in the last four consecutive years, a return to profitability is paramount. Margins for smartphones and high-end ones in particular are much higher than they are for features phones. A focus on such devices will enable Sony to turn its handset business around and meet its goal to make its handset division profitable. “That’s why we are in this business, and that’s why we invested heavily in the business,” Hirai said.

Sony is investing more in its product development for smartphones and will leverage its strengths in video games, cameras and audio players to develop future devices. “We need to have products that wow people, move people emotionally,” Hirai said

Sony may find the going tough. Competition in the smartphone space is fierce and dominated by Apple and Samsung. As Ace Securities analyst Hideki Yasuda points out, “It’s going to be hard for Sony to catch up. Still, the market is expected to continue growing, and that will probably enable Sony to boost sales.”

Read more: Bloomberg Business Week