Sony shipped 8.7 million smartphones in Q4 2012; up 45 percent YoY

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The year 2012 has been a challenging year for Sony. The company has struggled to keep pace in the home entertainment business with Samsung, LG and Panasonic. Even on the gaming front, competition for Nintendo and Microsoft has kept it on its toes. Overall, the company has managed to post sales to the tunes of 1,948 billion Yen and operating income of 46.4 billion Yen.

In the smartphone space, Sony is trying to make a comeback after parting ways with Ericsson. The company did launch an interesting array of smartphones under its Xperia brand such as the Xperia U, Xperioa Neo, Xperial Sola et al in 2012.

Company's quarterly statement has revealed that in the last quarter of 2012 (October to December), the Japanese smartphone maker managed to ship 8.7 million smartphones, which is slightly less than 8.8 million smartphone that Sony sold in Q3 2012. Moreover, Sony has managed to keep its full year shipment guidance of 34 million units in 2012.

Sony had managed to ship only 6 million devices in Q4 2011, which means that the company has clocked a growth of 45 percent in the last one year.

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Even in 2013, things are looking up for the Japanese smartphone maker. The company has already announced its Xperia Z and Xperia ZL smartphones, which have received an encouraging response from the critics. However, these smartphones are yet to hit the market and the consumer verdict for these smartphones is still pending.

Another market segment that Sony should now be eyeing intently is the tablet space. The company did launch water-poof Xperia S tablet in United States from September 2012. However, it was forced to withdraw the tablet from market just a month later because of the defect in the tablet. Sony resumed sales of Xperia S tablet from November but guess by then the damage had been done.

Sony has tried to make a fresh start in 2013, with its 10-inch Sony Xperia Tablet Z tablet. This tablet is expected to go on sale in Japan in spring 2013. So far, the company has not disclosed the price for Xperia Tablet Z but we expect it to be competitive. Another thing that Sony will have to do is to beef up its distribution strategy and make sure that this tablet and other offerings are available in all key markets and not just a handful.

So it will be interesting to see if Sony is able to keep up its growth momentum or will it fizzle out owing to the heavy competition in this space.

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