It was a tough year for Sony Mobile, whose smartphone sales were shrinking and much confused at management level. We really liked the last smartphone, the Xperia XZ3, but it did not matter in public. We met with Don Mesa, vice president of marketing at Sony Mobile, at CES 2019 to find out what the company is going to provide for us next year and how it intends to reverse things.
Change is in the air
"We've gone through a lot of changes," Mesa said about Digital Trends. "Every part of our business has been touched."
The transformation represents a new strategy for Sony Mobile. Shigeki Ishizuka is the new head of development and comes from Sony's highly successful camera division. He was instrumental in establishing Sony as a top camera manufacturer. So it will be interesting to see if he can do his magic for the mobile division. This seems wise, especially since the camera is such an important element in modern smartphones.
"We will announce products at MWC," Mesa confirmed. "What we present there will be a first step that shows the direction we are going."
Sony needs something special, and it's not the only smartphone maker to report a decline in sales lately. It also raises the question of whether you go with the 5G technology on board.
"5G is a challenge," said Mesa. "Some people may stop buying a new device because they're waiting for it. But we do not want to put the car in a hurry in front of the horse – the experience has to be good.
We've already seen a number of Xperia XZ4 rumors and we can assume that this is the phone that will be released in Barcelona next month. Perhaps the most interesting rumor is that the new phone will feature a large 21: 9 aspect ratio OLED screen, ideal for watching movies.
Sony has also tried in the XZ2 Premium with a dual-lens camera. In the XZ3, however, returned to a single lens, it will be interesting to see what kind of camera device the XZ4 has.
"We hope to provide a much better camera experience," Mesa said.
As For the prospect of a compact version of the XZ4, it would probably be best not to hold your breath.
"Hopefully we can surprise some people."
"We've spent a long time working on Compact because of its ease of use," Mesa explained. "There is always room for different sizes, but people now want a lot more space for their content."
Last year there was a wave of gaming phones, but it does not look like a new PlayStation phone is likely to happen. This should happen soon.
Although Sony Mobile is taking a new direction, Mesa warned that we should not expect drastic changes. The Xperia XZ4 will serve as the foundation, and the company is expected to re-update the line at IFA six months after MWC, rather than running multiple phones in one year.
"What consumers can expect from us is true Sony, with greater convergence of content and device," said Mesa. "And hopefully we can surprise a few people."