Tokyo - Sony on Tuesday said it won’t be drawn into price
competition on tablet PCs amid a plethora of cheap models from other makers as
it pursues Android rival Samsung Electronics with a new tablet out this month.
Sony will begin US sales of its latest tablet, now under its
mobile Xperia brand, on September 7. The 16 gigabyte version will sell for $399
- the same price charged by Samsung for its equivalent model with the same
screen resolution. Apple’s 16GB iPad 2 also retails for the same price, with
its latest high resolution model starting at $100 more.
“We aren’t considering competing on price in tablets,”
Kunimasa Suzuki, an executive vice president at Sony, said at a briefing in
When Sony launched its first models in April last year,
Suzuki at the time said Sony was aiming to overtake Samsung to become the
leading Android tablet maker within a year.
The tablets, however, failed to ignite consumer interest and
Sony has yet to break into the top five makers in a market still dominated by
Apple with around a 70% share.
“It was important to set ourselves the target of becoming
number one,” said Suzuki, who is leading the Japanese company’s bid to make
mobile devices one driver of profit as income from televisions shrinks.
The Japanese consumer electronics company also wants to
boost sales of digital cameras and games consoles, while nurturing new
businesses including medical devices. In the twelve months to March 31, the
company posted a record net loss of ¥455bn.
The latest tablet from Sony, which like its smartphone has
been branded Xperia in a bid to unify its mobile devices under one name, enters
a more crowded market than its predecessors. In June, Microsoft, which has yet
to announce a price, unveiled its first tablet, dubbed Surface.
The Sony Xperia will also compete for consumer attention
against a stable of cheap tablets, including Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire,
Google's Nexus 7 and Barnes & Nobles' Nook Tablet, all selling for
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