Sony is a company that, just like Samsung and LG make and sell much more than just shiny smartphones. However, they also rely on their smartphone sales to bring in a certain amount of revenue. Where Samsung and LG’s smartphones businesses are doing brilliantly, and operating as key parts of the business, Sony’s Xperia line of devices appear to be more of a hang-around than anything else, as their Q4 (well, third-quarter fiscal year, as Sony calls them) figures are showing once again.
Looking at Sony’s own report for the “Mobile Communications” sector, Sony saw a 14.7% fall in sales year-on-year, which Sony chalks up to “a strategic decision not to pursue scale in order to improve profitability” which seems to have worked for them as Sony posted an increase in profit of 133%. Sony changed their tact in the lower-end and mid-range segments of the market to release fewer devices to keep profits high, and it seems to be working for them, but with that has come fewer sales, and more than likely a decline in market share. To put things into perspective, the smartphone side of the business bought Sony just $201 Million in profit during Q4 of last year. Meanwhile, the PlayStation 4 continues to bring in more money than most other divisions, with digital cameras helping to carry the company as well.
There’s something worrying going on in Sony’s image sensor business as well, once thought of as a big part of the business, sales decreased 12% or so year-on-year, which could come as a blow to the company overall. Let’s just hope that Sony can bring in more money this year from their own smartphones, and have to rely less on other manufacturers purchasing image sensors and such. Having said that, as Sony makes deals to buy Toshiba’s imaging business as well as Altair Semiconductor out of Israel, it sure looks like Sony is looking to make a name for themsleves in the component business. Whether or not it will work for them long-term remains to be seen, but at least their smartphone business is turning a profit, which is more than we can say for some former giants these days.