All good things must come to an end. Or so they say, anyway. That’s what I’ve heard. Whether or not you consider the partnership between Sony and Ericsson a “good thing” is up to you, but let’s just have everyone pretend that it is for now, okay? That will make this a lot easier. Earlier today you might have heard that Sony officially bought Ericsson’s stake in the Sony Ericsson deal. They did so for quite a few bucks, and the company has admitted that they plan on leveraging all of this new found freedom in things like tablets, PCs and other great things. But, should we actually expect anything great?
For those of you who didn’t hear, Sony bought Ericsson out of the joint mobile venture early this morning. It’s actually been rumored to have been incoming for quite some time, and it finally happened. The deal equaled €1.05 billion in cash. Sony will officially take full control when the start of the year comes around, and that will be a pretty exciting time for Sony. While they’ve seen some pretty good times with Ericsson along for the ride, now that Sony has made the necessary steps to go it alone, we can assume that the company believes they are in a perfect position to do so. Sony Ericsson phones aren’t known the world over for being the most popular, but they’ve got a fan base all of their own, and for good reason. When you look at the newest Xperia devices, and if you’re lucky enough to get a chance to use one, then you know that SE knows what they’re doing when they release a phone.
But, it hasn’t all been golden. Sony Ericsson’s commitment to Android has also caused some rough times in the past for the pair of companies, as a poor update schedule for released devices seemed to push people away, rather than draw in new customers. But SE made all of that better in 2011, telling everyone who cared that their Android-powered phones that launched in 2011 would get upgraded to Gingerbread. Not every company has made everyone happy, so we can’t really hold that against SE, now can we? Nope, so let’s move on.
Sony’s position in the smartphone market has been completely dependent upon Ericsson’s position in the smartphone market, at least for the last decade. No surprise there, considering the partnership. However, that’s a decade of people knowing Sony and Ericsson smartphones as Sony Ericsson smartphones. That’s a long time, and it will really be interesting to see if anyone is eagerly anticipating Sony smartphones in 2012. Of course, it’s going to come down to specifications, as it always does.
But, in truth, I think it goes a bit beyond that. Why? Well, Sony has laid it out for us. They aren’t going to just focus on their smartphone industry. They are going to focus on integrating smartphones with their already established devices. So Sony wants you to be able to use your smartphone with your TV, your tablet, and your PC. We’ve seen that same outlook from Microsoft, which has the same kind of marketplace that Sony does. Microsoft’s presence in the video game console market and PC market, and now an emerging factor in the smartphone market, has got to be making Sony think that they can leverage their own products to do the same thing.
No, obviously Sony thinks they can do it better, or they wouldn’t be going down this route. And the truth is they may have something here. Just “doing the same thing” won’t cut it and Sony knows that. So the fact that they are taking the steps to go out on their own, and to tell everyone who is listening that they plan on connecting their smartphones with everything else should go up as a huge flag to all the other companies out there in the same race. Why? Because people want integration. They want to make it easier to communicate with things, and they want their devices to work together, not against one another. If you’ve got a Sony smartphone, a Sony tablet, and a Sony TV – think about all the things you could do from room to room, and not having to deal with any applications that force synchronization. Your devices are built to talk to one another, and there’s nothing better than that.
Sony’s got the PlayStation Vita coming next year here to the United States, and Sony’s hoping that it changes the way we play video games on the move. Well, while the Vita probably won’t do that with its terrible battery life, Sony will eventually realize that they’ve got the same potential in the smartphone race, which they’ve begun to touch on with their PlayStation certified phones, like the Xperia Play. Sony, if they make all the right moves, definitely has a chance to really make an impact here.
But here’s the big question for all of you: should Sony stick with Android? Or should the company go on their own way, creating their own mobile OS, or maybe even adopting another mobile OS like Windows Phone? Let me know what you think in the comments below.