Sony vice president of the Customer Unit Middle East and Africa Rüdiger Odenbach says the company is on course to launch premium smartphones. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Cape Town - The delay is the Xperia Z4 has more to do with operator partnerships than the staff reductions at Sony Mobile, the company says.
"The organisational changes and restructuring versus the change in the life cycle of the product are two different topics which are not related to each other at all," Sony vice president of the Customer Unit Middle East and Africa Rüdiger Odenbach told Fin24.
Sony was expected to launch the flagship Xperia Z4 at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, but instead the company launched the mid range Xperia M4 Aqua and Z4 Tablet.
Rumours circulated that Sony was looking to exit the smartphone business which had taken a financial hit and resulted the redundancy of around 1 000 employees.
But Odenbach rejected this link, saying that mobile operators had requested longer life cycles on Sony devices.
"This was actually a request from our partners around the world, especially the operator partners: To extend the life cycle and also to increase the return on investment."
Mobile operators typically subsidise smartphones to consumers and fast cycles mean that companies struggle to recoup their investment while the price for older models falls.
In SA particularly, operators pay in international currency and as the rand continues to slide against the dollar, prices migrate upward.
Sony had pushed the boundaries with mobile technology and few competitors have launched IP68 certified waterproof smartphones.
Odenbach said that despite losing staff, Sony was well-positioned to move its mobile technology forward.
"It doesn't mean that we don't have the resources for the development of technologies. It's just that we prolong it and in the meantime we launch other products like the M4 Aqua."
The M4 Aqua hints at possible features on the anticipated Xperia Z4. The new Aqua has no flaps to protect the charger and earphone, making it less likely to experience failures related to wear of waterproof flaps.
Odenbach insisted that while Sony has become a leaner organisation as a result of staff redundancies, the organisation would lead the premium smartphone market.
"In order for us to keep the leadership in the premium products... we have to change to adapt to these circumstances."
Watch Rüdiger Odenbach explain the longer life cycle of premium Sony products in this online video:
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