Sony rethinks mobile strategy, sees cheap phones and possibly, Firefox OS as its savior

Sony Xperia Phone LogoIt seems like there’s a bit of confusion over at Sony regarding the mobile division’s plans for the near future, as the company’s head of business told Reuters this week it wants to become the world’s third largest phone manufacturer – it’s currently in fourth place – and that it sees cheaper phones as a key strategy to make this happen.

This is at odds with with a quote from Xperia Product Manager Stephen Sneedon, who said just after CES 2013, its entry level smartphones don’t have enough, “Sonyness,” and it, “Might leave the very entry tier to some other manufacturers. However, according to Kunimasa Suzuki, who spoke to Reuters, cheap Sony phones are here to stay and it’s now planning to vary its strategy depending on the geographical location – a similar approach to Samsung.

To achieve its goal of third place behind Samsung and Apple, it needs to pass Huawei and fend off the mounting challenge from ZTE. While the Chinese pair have been producing some interesting top-end pieces of hardware recently, both are still very strong in the low-to-mid-range too. Sony says its cheaper phones are needed to make a splash in the all-important developing markets around the world, but it doesn’t look like Sony will only adopt Android for this mission, as it may have its sights set even lower.

A clue to its plans comes from a recently announced partnership between Sony and the European network Telefonica to jointly evaluate Mozilla’s Firefox OS. The statement was rapidly followed by the release of a developer-ready version of Firefox OS for the Xperia E, one of the most basic phones in Sony’s range. You don’t go making announcements like this without a plan in place, and Firefox OS is almost solely targeted at emerging markets and low price points. This will leave expensive smartphones such as the Xperia Z to be sold only in established smartphone markets.

ZTE revealed the ZTE Open at Mobile World Congress, which along with the Alcatel One Touch Fire were the two phones running Firefox OS at the show, so Sony is already playing catchup. Sony though, has the advantage of its good name, which could mean even an Xperia E running Firefox OS will sell well in the right place; however it doesn’t expect to put a Firefox phone on sale until 2014, while the first Firefox OS phones from other manufacturers are expected to go on sale this summer.


These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone…

The Note 8 and S8 range now have access to the Android Pie beta

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.

The most expensive Galaxy S10 could be the priciest Galaxy phone we've seen

Not long now; with 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.

Yes, Android apps can run on your PC, and it's easier than you think

Wish you knew how to run Android apps in Windows? It's easier than you might think and there are a number of different ways to do it. In this guide, we break down the steps so you can follow along with ease.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…

C you soon? Rumors swirl of a USB-C port on 2019 iPhones

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.

Biometric phone unlocks can’t be forced by feds, says U.S. judge

Fingerprint and face unlocks used to not be protected by the Fifth Amendment, but that may soon change. A judge in California has ruled biometric unlocking methods of all kinds are protected in the same way as passcodes.

The Motorola Razr may return as a foldable phone — for $1,500

The Motorola Razr V3 is one of the world's most iconic phones, and it could be making a stylistic return in the form of a foldable Motorola smartphone -- but it may cost around $1,500. Is the nostalgia worth it?

The iPhone XS Battery Case's battery has a smaller capacity than previous cases

Apple has been rumored to be working on a new iPhone battery case for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now, those new cases are finally here, offering seven hours of extra use for each iPhone and are available for $129.

Join the Apple club with our complete guide to switching from Android to iOS

If Android simply isn’t cutting it for you anymore, then you might be considering Apple’s warm embrace. Here’s how to make the switch from Android to iOS without losing your contacts, sleep, or hair!