According to a report carried by DigiTimes Taiwan, Sony Mobile Communications, the mobiles devices arm of Japanese multinational consumer electronics major Sony Corporation, will reduce the number of smartphone launches in the coming year. Citing ‘industry sources’, the report also states that the company is likely to do away with its R&D unit in Taiwan. The company launched just five smartphone models this year as part of its Xperia range of handsets, including the three premium Xperia Z5 devices that it launched at the IFA trade show in Berlin. According to the DigiTimes report however, that number can go down to as low as just two next year, which will be a severe downturn from around five to eight models the company used to launch a few years earlier.
DigiTimes further states that Sony is highly unlikely to renew its smartphone manufacturing contract with Foxconn Electronics – the world’s largest contractual manufacturer of electronic goods including Apple’s iPhones, Asus’ ZenFones, Xiaomi’s smartphones and also, Sony’s own PlayStation gaming consoles. The Japanese tech company meanwhile, will reportedly get its future smartphones made by a couple of other Taiwanese companies in lieu of Foxconn. According to sources quoted by the Taiwanese publication, the two companies that are expected to be the beneficiaries of the termination of Sony’s contract with Foxconn are Arima Communications and Compal Electronics, both of which are also based out of the Taiwanese capital of Taipei. All three companies however, have refused to comment officially on the issue.
The trials and tribulations of the company’s consumer electronics business is well-documented, and the latest report, if true, only adds further credence to earlier reports that the company is taking a cautious wait-and-watch policy with its smartphone business, with multiple reports stating that the Japanese company will shut down its smartphone business next year, if it fails to get back in the green soon enough. It remains to be seen how things pan out in the long run for Sony, but with the company already having sold off its Vaio PC-making unit, the company’s well-wishers will be hoping that Xperia-branded phones won’t go the same way.