Sony’s new Android smartphones, most notably the Xperia Z1, have given the company a lifeline as it attempts to crawl out of persistent losses. The company, which has reported an annual loss in five of the last six years, posted strong smartphone sales to mitigated the effects of declining profits. Sony, which reported a net loss of 128.4 billion yen ($1.2 billion) during the fiscal year ending March 31, sold 39.1 million smartphones. The figure represents an 18.5 percent increase from the year before, making mobile one of the company’s most profitable segments.
While Sony is gaining ground against competitors, it remains a small player. Its annual smartphone sales look microscopic considering that Samsung sold 83.3 million units in just the fourth quarter of 2013 alone. The company’s mobile segment generated 1.6 trillion yen ($16 billion), up 29.6 percent from the year before. However, that figure includes 45.5 billion yen ($442 million) in losses from the company’s planned exit from the PC business this year.
While it forecasts another annual loss next year, Sony remains optimistic about its performance in the smartphone market. The company predicts that it will sell 10.9 million more handsets in the following fiscal year, increasing its sales to 1.5 trillion yen (15 billion).
“Sales are expected to increase primarily due to an increase in unit sales of smartphones. Operating income is expected to increase primarily due to the impact of the increase in sales, partially offset by an increase in research and development costs and marketing expenses,” the company said in its earnings report.
We were impressed with the Xperia Z2 when we first spotted during the Mobile World Congress so we share Sony’s optimism. If you want to see Sony’s saving grace at work, you can check out our hands-on video here.