I'll miss you, Sony, but I understand why you're leavingAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
This year, Sony released a few new hot devices - devices that matched up spec-wise with devices like the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S4, and other flagships. The Sony Xperia Z was the first to be announced and debuted in the US, and with its waterproof and dustproof features, quad-core processor, 13-megapixel camera and large screen it seemed to have the makings for a sure hit in the U.S. Then we have the Xperia Z1, also known as Honami, and the Xperia Z Ultra, which features a massive 6.4-inch screen, which I was initially skeptical on how well the device would do in the U.S. (or really anywhere). As it turns out, I won't have to worry much about Sony devices of any size much anymore, because Sony is no longer focused on bringing devices to the U.S.
Upon hearing the news, I was a little confused. Not because Sony is doing spectacularly here or anything, but I would have thought that if they had just made some different decisions regarding marketing and, more importantly, how many carriers they put their phones on, they would have done alright for themselves. But that's not how the industry works, and manufacturers can't just say, "Hey, I'm going to sell my phone through your company." Carriers are part of the deal too, and it was fortunate that T-Mobile even gave Sony a chance with the Xperia Z. But no other carrier, for whatever the reason, carried it. This will definitely put a damper on sales, unless of course you're the iPhone, but that charade was given up just a few short years ago as well. Simply put, one phone on one carrier probably isn't going to do so hot. Unsuprisingly, with the Xperia Z, it hasn't.
As a result, Sony decided to pack up and leave the U.S. for a while, and focus more on other markets where they're already doing marginally well in, such as Japan. It's actually a pretty smart move, because if they're not making money here they shouldn't feel like they have to stay. We see the results of companies who choose to stick around even when they're losing money, like HTC. Even though the One is popular by word-of-mouth and on tech blogs and websites, it's clear through quarterly reports that the company isn't exactly doing so hot. Although it would be nice for them to stick around and give people more options, sometimes it's just best to live and let live until they get all of their ducks in a row. In a way, I find this quite admirable.
But I will miss them. Even though I don't own a Sony device at the moment, it does somewhat kill my hopes and dreams of another Xperia Play being made sometime in the near future - at least, one that will be released here in the U.S. More importantly, this also means that there will be one less manufacturer making flagship phones. The Xperia Z was one of the better phones to come out this year, both spec-wise and build-wise, so in the very least it is somewhat upsetting to know that we won't be seeing any more of these come out any time soon, either.
Sony's decision to withdraw itself from the mobile market in the U.S. is also a prime example of how hard it is to beat phones that are already taking up so much of the market here, such as Samsung and Apple. Of course, with Apple being the only maker of the iPhone and iOS devices, it makes sense that they're doing pretty well for themselves. But when it comes to Android, which already has plenty of manufacturers, you'd think it would be a little easier to turn a profit over by creating a flagship Android device. But since Sony has never been a huge competitor in the U.S. when it comes to Android, it seems that entering the game now is a much tougher nut to crack than they thought.
At least they're withdrawing respectfully, which hopefully means that one day they'll be able to make a return once they get everything situated. I can respect that.
Readers, what are your thoughts on Sony withdrawing from the U.S. market? Were you hoping to see Sony produce more phones for carriers, or had you never really taken an interest in their phones? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!