Sony's Android smartphone business is joining forces with its struggling sister companies. The firm announced one of its largest restructurings in recent history last week, detailing the future of its mobile ambitions.
More specifically, Sony is combining its Mobile Communications, Imaging Products & Solutions, and Home Entertainment & Sound branches. The move will go into effect on Wednesday, April 1st.
The Japanese conglomerate believes the reorganization will help improve the competitiveness of all involved businesses. It has particularly high hopes for its subsidiary dealing in Android handsets and tablets.
According to Sony's management, joining the mobile unit with its imaging business will unlock a variety of synergies. E.g. up until now, Sony Mobile sourced imaging sensors from its sister company like any other third party. Starting this Wednesday, the business should have preferential treatment over third parties like Huawei and LG.
Sony's Android business: a tale of stuborness
Sony's mobile unit has been declining for several years now, causing problems despite continuous overhead cuts. Many industry watchers were predicting some form of a restructuring for quite a while now; after all, Sony Mobile has all but given up on most markets around the world nearly a year ago.
The newly confirmed reorganization should also affect the industry as a whole; at least in the near term, even if it fails to rejuvenate the firm's struggling smartphone operations. Namely, the cutting-edge nature of Sony's mobile sensors made them a popular choice among many major handset manufacturers.
Even some of its direct and much more successful rivals often use its products. An obvious example of that phenomenon is Samsung; the world's leading mobile company continues to source Sony's IMX sensors because it can't produce enough of them internally. Though Samsung's slowly expanding its production capabilities in the space, it's still dubious whether it can surpass or even match Sony tech on an annual basis.
For example, the newly launched Galaxy S20 line uses several Sony-made sensors across the board, combining them with Samsung's own ISOCELL solutions.
Time will tell whether Sony's restructuring proves to be a move that saves its mobile operations. Alternatively, this may just be one final act of stuborness from a business calling to be killed years ago.
For now, the tech giant's main goal is clear – stopping its alarming decline in the smartphone space. Assuming it manages to do so, the Xperia brand may yet crawl back into the sphere of relevancy.
The organizational reshuffle won't affect PlayStation Entertainment. Unlike Sony's Android business, its gaming division is still maintaining impressive performance, which is why its autonomy isn't in question.