Sony Ericsson plans X times more, dual core, Androids.Not just another tablet- something very unique and exiting
Sony Ericsson has just announced their Q4 and FY 2010 results. And they are… ok, I guess.
What is evident from all the figures, it’s that in 2010 Sony Ericsson finally managed to stop the huge bleeding they’ve been experiencing in 2009, that raised very serious doubts that they will be able to continue as independent company. While SE lost and most likely will continue to lose mobile phone market share, they are back in black, admit the mistakes they’ve made in 2010, and promise a much better performance in 2011.
I won’t get into the detailed numbers, you can find them here. Well, it’s worth mentioning that excluding some restructuring charges SE earned 189 million Euro in 2010 on 6.294 billion Euro in sales. Despite the 7% decline in sales volume, a very impressive 1.1 billion Euro turnaround compared to the EUR 878 million loss in 2009.
What’s more interesting then dry figures, was Sony Ericsson management talking about their performance, past mistakes and future plans during Q4 results conference call. Were they made it pretty clear that SE is now firmly on track to transform themselves from dumb phone vendor into an all smartphone manufacturer on the back of Android OS. Which, as SE CEO Bert Nordberg clearly stated will be “the primary Sony Ericsson OS” going forward.
What’s more- according to their Chief Creation Officer Ricco Sakaguchi – thanks’ to the prevalence of OSE RTOS based products in Sony Ericsson pre-2009 portfolio (that’s all those Cybershot and Walkman feature phones, I guess), most of the engineers left at SE today are software engineers. And the products they’ve been developing before – they were doing it mostly in Java. Which allowed for easy switch to Android development. So Sony Ericsson feels very confident in the ability their engineering team to produce a very unique Android based products rapidly.
This tight focus on Android was very clear through all the earnings conference call. Sony Ericsson has been shipping Android (Xperia), Symbian (Satio, Vivaz) and even some Windows Mobile (Xperia X2) smartphones this year. Well, Symbian and Windows are the past, and a forgotten past at that, for Sony Ericsson. SE managers didn’t bother to mention Symbian or Windows phones even once. It was all Android, we are working on Android, “we shipped 9 million – Android based Xperia smartphones in 9 months since launch”, and we will be working even harder on Android this year.
Speaking about their results with Android phones in 2010, Sony Ericsson management seems to clearly appreciate and admit that they screwed-up last year. Well, a “screw-up” might be too strong a word. But they did make some serious mistakes with their Android launches in 2010. The problem was that SE planning was based on their experiences from early smartphone and feature phone days. So when Sony Ericsson team was planning their 2010 portfolio they “estimated a much longer product lifecycle then it actually was” for Android smartphones. That was the reason for Xperia X10 Android 1.6 launch and update debacle.
But now SE management learned their lessons and are coming into 2011 with a new attitudes. Here are some tidbits of Sony Ericsson 2011 Android plans, that management let slip in the earnings conference call:
- How many new Android models in 2011? Much more, X (i.e. several) times more then we had in 2010. And we will be releasing Android phones both in value and high end price categories. We’ll also strengthen the “Mini” line. (They had 4 Android models in 2010, so my guess is at least 10, probably more new Android phones this year)
- How about dual core CPU’s for smartphones? Of course we’ll have them. We can take any chipsets from our suppliers, it’s not a big deal for us.
- Tablets? Can’t comment on future products. What I can tell you – we are so much committed to our promise of bringing communications entertainment. Our thinking is not to bring “yet another tablet”. But we are working on a “very unique and exiting proposition” in the coming timeframe.
- When the new products will ship? We significantly speeded up product development cycles. First products like Xperia Arc will ship towards the end of Q1. (ed. that’s March, and probably includes new phones that will be announced at MWC)
Overall Sony Ericsson sounded very upbeat and confident during CC. No more fumbling and trying justify their deteriorating position in the market. They know they made some mistakes in 2010, took their punches and now are ready for the next round.
Looks like HTC, Motorola and Samsung, which completely dominated Android market in 2010, now have two more very strong rivals – LG and Sony Ericsson. It’s shaping to be a very interesting year, with tons of new and very exciting handsets on the way.