If you’re frustrated at the lack of Sony smartphones offered for sale by your mobile network, the situation is unlikely to change any time soon. Sony CEO Kaz Hirai has said the company won’t be altering its U.S. strategy in the near future. Instead, it will concentrate on promoting its smartphones in Europe and Japan, leaving the U.S. and China out in the cold.
In a report published by Reuters, Hirai said that Europe and Japan are, “The most important areas for us and we’ll put substantial resources there. But not yet for the U.S and China.” He continued: “It’s not realistic to try and do everything at once. In the U.S. we’ll start gradually.”
One could argue it has already had a very gradual start, as T-Mobile is the only network to offer Sony hardware with a contract, and even then it’s only the Xperia Z, and not one of Sony’s newer phones such as the Xperia Z1. Sony’s phones are available to buy unlocked without a contract, but this method of purchasing new smartphones isn’t as popular as buying through a wireless carrier.
While China and the U.S. are two huge markets, Sony does better business in Europe and Japan, which together make up 60 percent of its sales. The aforementioned Xperia Z was a watershed device for the firm, and in several European markets, it sold out within hours of release, and its success saw the company rise to become the third most popular manufacturer in Germany, Poland, and Austria by the end of 2012. In the UK, 38 percent of new Sony smartphone owners formerly owned a Samsung device. In Japan, Sony sold 640,000 Xperia A smartphones in the first 30 days, and 140,000 Xperia Z phones in just one week on a single carrier.
Sony has lofty ambitions for the smartphone market, publicly stating it wants to be one of the top three handset manufacturers in the world. It makes sense to build on an obviously strong start in Europe and Japan, and then tackle the markets controlled by some very big players – Lenovo and Samsung control 30 percent of the Chinese market, while Apple and Samsung have 65 percent of the U.S. market – later on.
It just means any hopes of the Xperia Z1F coming to a carrier near you have just been crushed.