Sony reshuffles its mobile division, gears up for comeback at MWC

It has been a tough year for Sony Mobile with smartphone sales dwindling and a lot of shuffling at the executive level. We really liked its last smartphone, the Xperia XZ3, but it failed to reel in the general public. We sat down with Don Mesa, Sony Mobile’s vice president of Marketing, at CES 2019 to find out what the company has in store for us in the coming year, and how it plans to turn things around.

Change is in the air

“We’ve been undergoing a lot of change,” Mesa told Digital Trends. “Every component of our business has been touched.”

The reshuffle heralds a fresh strategy for Sony Mobile. Kimio Maki is the new head of development and comes in from Sony’s very successful camera division. He was instrumental in establishing Sony as a top camera maker, so it will be interesting to see if he can work his magic for the mobile division. This move seems smart, especially since the camera is such an important element of modern smartphones.

“We are going to be announcing products at MWC,” Mesa confirmed. “What we present there will be a first step showing the direction we are going.”

It will take something special for Sony to stand out, and it’s not the only smartphone maker to see a slump in sales recently. There’s also the question of whether to jump onboard with 5G technology.

“5G is a challenge,” Mesa said. “Some people may be holding off buying a new device because they’re waiting for it. But we don’t want to rush and put the cart before the horse — the experience has to be good.”

Sony Xperia XZ3 review

Xperia XZ3

We’ve already seen a number of Xperia XZ4 rumors and we can safely assume it’s the phone that will make an appearance in Barcelona next month. Perhaps the most interesting rumor is that the new phone will feature a tall OLED screen with 21:9 aspect ratio, which would be ideal for watching movies on.

Sony has also dabbled with a dual-lens camera in the XZ2 Premium, but returned to a single lens in the XZ3, so it will be interesting to see what kind of camera setup the XZ4 has.

“We’re hoping to deliver 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 a few people.”

“We stuck with Compact for a very long time, because of the ease of use,” Mesa explained. “There’s always room for different sizes, but people want a lot more surface area for their content now.”

There was a new wave of gaming phones last year, but it doesn’t look as though a new PlayStation phone is likely to happen any time soon, either.

Although Sony Mobile is starting out in a new direction, Mesa warned we shouldn’t expect drastic changes. The Xperia XZ4 will serve as a foundation, and the firm is likely to update the line again at IFA, six months after MWC, rather than pushing multiple phones in a year.

“What consumers can expect from us is a more true Sony, with greater convergence of content and device,” Mesa said. “And hopefully we can surprise a few people.”

Mobile

You can now get the Sony Xperia 1, but you'll have to pay $950

Sony took the wraps off of three new phones at Mobile World Congress 2019, including the new Xperia 1, which is the company's new flagship phone and the first with a 4K OLED display with a 21:9 aspect ratio.
Deals

The best Prime Day smartphone deals: Samsung, Motorola, Google, and more

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is here, and there are a ton of great deals on smartphones worth looking into. Whether you're looking for a new iPhone or an Android device, there should be a Prime Day 2019 deal for you.
Mobile

T-Mobile completes its first 600MHz 5G test using a commercial modem

T-Mobile's 5G network officially launched in the U.S., though it's not with the 600MHz frequency we were all expecting, but with millimeter wave, just like Verizon's existing 5G network.
Gaming

Nintendo announces Switch Lite with a sweet Pokémon Sword and Shield edition

Nintendo has officially revealed the Switch Lite, a lighter and smaller device with built-in controllers. Releasing September 2019, it’s a dedicated mobile gaming console that will cost $200.
Mobile

The best Apple iPhone Prime Day deals, from the XS Max to the iPhone 8

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is here, and there are a number of great iPhone deals available during the event. You can even get a deal on Apple's latest and greatest big-screen phone, the iPhone XS Max.
Deals

The best Motorola smartphone deals for Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is here, and there are some awesome deals on smartphones, especially when it comes to Motorola's range of devices. For Prime Day 2019, Motorola has discounted phones like the Moto Z3 Play, Moto G7, and more.
Deals

The Google Pixel 3 XL is $250 off for Prime Day

The Google Pixel 3 XL is one of the best phones of the last year, thanks to the fact that it has an amazing camera and super smart artificial intelligence features. For Amazon Prime Day 2019, the device has been discounted by around a hefty…
Mobile

Flex your thumbs (and your brain) with these fun texting games

Gaming consoles keep getting more advanced, but you can still have fun with the good old Latin alphabet. Here are our picks for the best texting games, so you can make the most fun out of that limited data plan or basic cell phone.
Deals

The Samsung Galaxy S10 gets $300 shaved off just for Amazon Prime Day

The Samsung Galaxy S10 usually lists for $900 but in the spirit of Prime Day, Amazon brings the price down by a whopping 33%. That's right, you can get one of the best smartphones in the market today for only $600.
Deals

Here are the best Samsung Galaxy smartphone Prime Day deals

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is finally here, bringing with it some of the best smartphone deals you're likely to see all year. In particular, there are some amazing deals on Samsung Galaxy phones, including the much-loved Samsung Galaxy S10.
Deals

Here are the best Amazon Prime Day smartphone accessory deals

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is here, and with it comes a ton of great deals on smartphones and smartphone accessories. No matter what you're looking for, here are the best Prime Day smartphone accessory deals we could find.
Deals

Boost Mobile takes on Amazon with Apple iPhone deals during Prime Day 2019

Boost Mobile's two-day sale has discounts on both Android and Apple smartphones, and we rounded up the best iPhone deals right here. You'll have to act fast, though, as this online sales event lasts for Monday and Tuesday only.
Mobile

The Asus ROG Phone may launch as the most powerful phone in the world

Asus will launch the ROG Phone 2 (that stands for Republic of Gamers, for those new to the company's gaming brand) on July 23, and rumors of its specification and more have been leaking for a while.
Deals

The powerful Razer Phone 2 costs just $400 thanks to Amazon Prime Day 2019

The Razer Phone 2, a follow-up to the original Razer Phone, has a ton going for it, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and a 120Hz screen refresh rate. For Prime Day 2019, the phone is available for a massive 50 percent off.