Sony Posts Record Profit Even As Android Phone Sales Remain Abysmal

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Sony on Friday published the consolidated financial report for the third quarter of its latest fiscal year, i.e. the final three months of 2018, revealing a mixed bag of results that's definitely more positive than not, though its negative aspects are still a cause for concern.

There's always a "but"

The firm remains on course for a historic year in terms of profit, with its Q3 2018 bottom line being $3.78 billion in the black. The achievement isn't solely attributable to the $21.3-billion turnover seeing how revenues over the last concluded quarter dropped by nine percentage points. At the same time, the profitability increase is rather substantial; the same quarter of Sony's 2017 fiscal year yielded some $361 million worth of income.

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The inevitable "but" is that Sony's abysmal performance in the mobile segment continued declining over the observed period, with its turnover falling by nearly 40-percent to $1.25 billion. And while the marginally lower $139-million loss may be indicative of major cost-cutting efforts, that's something Sony has been pursuing for several years now. In the context of the newly concluded fiscal quarter, it most likely reflects the fact that the firm lately focused on ultra-premium devices which come with higher profit margins; not because it completely gave up on other price brackets but because those releases were in accordance with its traditional release schedule.

In other words, Sony doesn't appear to be radically changing its mobile strategy, at least in terms of product revision timings, which is a surprising decision for a company that's been nowhere near profitability in the smartphone segment for many years now.

And while that state of affairs is bound to renew speculation about Sony's potential exit from the handset space, the firm remains adamant such a concept isn't even being entertained on any level. As was the case in previous years, Sony remains convinced the mobile industry will yield the "next big thing" in tech and consequently isn't willing to give up on searching for that new golden goose.

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What that means in practice is that profitability isn't a target Sony deems achievable in the Android world any longer and is fine with that, though its leadership would likely reconsider that stance if the company's mobile losses started climbing (again). For the time being, Sony seems to have things under control, assuming "control" entails a hopeless situation for any ambitions aimed at actually making money on its mobile products.

Full steam ahead

While its cameras are presently facing comparable disinterest from the global market, the rest of the firm's portfolio is doing more than well and in overall, Sony is marching full steam ahead toward the future, financially stronger than ever.

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The company's next mobile plans should be detailed at this year's iteration of Mobile World Congress which is scheduled to start in Barcelona on February 25. Sony's next Android flagship is likely to debut in the form of the Xperia XZ4, a phablet rumored to have an incredibly high-resolution 52-megapixel camera. The device is expected to hit the store shelves by late spring and start at north of $700.