Friday, September 08, 2006
I'm going to post up the SonyEricsson Interview article now before it gets extremely outdated
An interview with SonyEricsson SonyEricsson to a lot of Japanese is the only “foreign” brand that can be comparable with “local” brands. Outside Japan, the company is often put side by side with Nokia and Motorola, not in terms of market share, but simply brand recognition. MobileBurn had the chance to talk to Utako Higuchi and Toshiyuki Kawamura from Corporate Planning Department in Tokyo.
The Sony part of SonyEricsson SonyEricsson is a joint venture between Sony and Ericsson; Sony owns 50% of the company. The product line in Japan is completely different from the rest of the world, the only device that has been brought out of Japan was 2 year-old the V802SE (Z800/V800). If you are looking for Sony-ness in the whole conglomerate, you cannot deny that the phone division is amongst the top of the list that speaks the loudest of the brand philosophy.
SonyEricsson might appear overly cautious or even slow in the business world, a lot of people said that they could have gotten a lot more market share. Higuchi explained that SonyEricsson had to live up the spirit of not just producing an average phone, but something unique with a wow factor. This is especially true when you look at their designs in Japan.
There is a funny trend of phones in Japan, the average size has actually increased throughout the years. Consumers asked for ever so high numbers of megapixels, ever so large screens and ever so large buttons. The Premini series of SonyEricsson was trying to go against the trend and go back to size competition. “The reason why Sony took so much time to release the first FOMA handset was that the team spent all the time in miniaturization”, the market has high expectations of SonyEricsson, the first FOMA phone must impress. The Premini concept has been really popular ever since their introduction in 2004.
The W42S Walkman phone gives us a glimpse of where the company is heading: co-branding. Just like Nokia and Carl Zeiss. Music phone is not new at all, but the marketing concept is borrowed from Europe this time.
Outside Japan. Just like Sharp, the Japanese branch of SonyEricsson pretty much works separately from the rest of the company; however the design teams do meet regularly. There is always chance of exporting Japanese-style UI and designs. The S700i is a classic example. The factor that is really holding back SonyEricsson is actually the operators. Take the SO702i as an example, it is a sleek FOMA phone with over 25 different exchangeable covers, the NTT shops serve as an outlet of these accessories, without the network chain, the concept will be impossible to attain. Will Vodafone be happy to distribute these panels all over Europe? Is it technically plausible? From past experiences, European consumers are relatively conservative when it comes to color scheme, the white-n-orange W800i sales was hindered by its color so much that the company had to come up with W810i. The taste is simply different.
The last question that I asked during the interview was the availability of a Z800/V800 follow-up. “Please wait,” Higuchi nodded and grinned, “the 2 markets are coming together but please give us some time.”
Ah, the price of having the word Sony in your company name.
trapped in the maze of time..9:19 PM