Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony has achieved what CEO Howard Stringer describes as its "four-screen strategy", following the launch of its own-brand smartphone, Xperia S, which one analyst descibes as a "bold" but necessary move.
The company issued a press release Monday, just ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, stating that Xperia S will be the first smartphone from its new Xperia NXT series of "next-generation smartphones". The device will be initially powered by Android 2.3, or Gingerbread, when it makes its global debut expected to be in the first quarter of this year, and will later be upgraded to Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, during the second quarter.
The launch also marks the fruition of Stringer's announcement in October 2011 when he said consumers could expect tighter integration between Sony's phones and other main devices in the company's "four-screen strategy". This was revealed after Sony said it would buy out Ericsson's share in their smartphone joint venture for US$1.47 billion.
The introduction of the Xperia S comes as the Ericsson buyout is still pending regulatory approval, making it a bold move but one that the company needs to make, according to Nick Dillon, devices and platforms analyst at Ovum.
"The launch of the own-branded smartphones marks the start of a new era for Sony, as it positions itself to battle with other multiscreen players in the increasingly competitive and interlinked consumer electronics market," Dillon said in a statement Tuesday.
Entering 2012, the analyst noted that it would be increasingly important for top-tier consumer electronics vendors to offer a complete portfolio of not only devices, but also the services that run on these.
Dillon said Sony has more work ahead as it tries to woo customers from rivals. "Sony now faces the challenge of knitting [these components] together to create a compelling, integrated offering--an area in which it has yet to excel," he said.