October 14, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
If the mobile phone industry is a gamble, Sony Ericsson is going all in with Android. In its Q3 2011 financial results, the Japanese-Swedish joint venture announced that it is shifting strategies to develop only smartphones. And since 80 percent of all phones it sells run Android, you can bet that Android will become SE’s default operating system.
In the last three months, Sony Ericsson shipped 9.5 million units, an increase of the 7.6 million sold in the previous quarter. However, that was down from the 10.4 million sold during Q3 2010. The “barely break even” net income earned this quarter was also a disappointing drop from the 49 million euro net income from that same period last year. Companies are in business to make money, and Sony Ericsson’s current endeavors simply aren’t producing enough. As a result, President and CEO Bert Nordberg has announced the shift to smartphones.
“We will continue to invest in the smartphone market, shifting the entire portfolio to smartphones during 2012,” Nordberg said in the quarterly announcement. “Android remains our platform of choice,” he added during an investor call.
It’s unfortunate to see Sony Ericsson struggle, but consumers may benefit from this strategy change. Sony Ericsson has so far produced the best mobile phone cameras this side of Apple and Nokia. However, the phones that it delivers in the U.S. have not been as good as the Symbian-based Vivaz or the Xperia phones released in Europe. With a renewed focus on smartphones – and by extension, Android – we may finally see some of those great camera sensors taking photos of American people, places, and things. Nordberg confirmed that SE is indeed developing a phone with a 3D-capable camera.
There’s still that pesky rumor that Sony aims to buy-out Ericsson and assume complete control of their joint venture, so there’s no telling what could happen long term. But regardless of its ownership, big changes are on the way at Sony Ericsson. Or Sony. Or Ericsson. Or whatever ends up being the name of the mobile manufacturer.