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Sony realised it was a bad idea to sell mid-range phones at flagship prices

When Sony introduced its new Xperia X series last year, we thought Sony had completely gone bonkers. It replaced its high-end Xperia Z line with products that are severely overpriced for what it was offering.

The Xperia X, for example, was doomed from the start. It’s a mid-range smartphone that went on sale for RM2,499 in Malaysia. It had a Snapdragon 650 processor, a 23MP camera that doesn’t shoot in 4K and it isn’t even water resistant. Nobody is going to pay flagship price for that. The RM1,999 Xperia X Compact didn’t fare much better either.

During its investor relations event, Sony appears to have learnt their lesson and they are abandoning this whole “premium standard” category altogether.

During its review of its 2016 performance, its Xperia X and Xperia X Compact had performed below expectations globally. In their sales breakdown, these two models had achieved 85% of its target in Japan however it only managed to hit 31% for markets outside of Japan. As a comparison, its flagship models like the Xperia X Performance and Xperia XZ had performed better by hitting 104% of its target in Japan and 60% overseas. Overall, they had sold 14.6 million smartphones last year, which is 73% of its intended target of 20 million units.

Moving forward, Sony will be focusing on its flagship XZ and mid-range XA series. Looking at the chart above, it appears that they will be introducing two new refreshed XZ models which could happen sometime during IFA 2017 in Berlin.

Despite selling fewer phones, Sony Mobile has finally become profitable for a full year in 2016. When we had a chat with some of their executives at MWC 2017, we are told that their focus was on profitability rather than market share and Sony has been making losses before they had the X series. Since they are back to black, we hope that with this renewed focus, Sony will have more room to create more exciting products like during their heydey.

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Alexander Wong