Monday, March 7, 2011

Sony Ericsson will tilt more toward U.S., China

According to Sony Ericsson's Chief Executive, Bert Nordberg, the company is open to joint ventures in China's gaming industry, and plans to sell its Xperia Play (their new cellphone-and-videogame device), in the country. Mr. Nordberg, declined to give a timeline for the device's launch in China, but said the handset maker will need at least three months to make preparations.

In recent years, Sony Ericsson, a 50-50 joint venture between Sony Corp. of Japan and Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson of Sweden, has struggled with losses and falling market share in the competitive smartphone race. Its focus now is on higher-end devices, like Xperia Play, running on Google Inc.'s Android OS, in a bid to improve its margins and raise its share of global market revenue. The company unveiled Xperia Play at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona last month.

Xperia Play is a crossover of PlayStation Portable gaming console and a cellphone. This is the first attempt in years by a major manufacturer to combine cellphone and full gaming capabilities in the same product. Mr. Nordberg said he expects the device to reach U.S. stores early April, using network operator Verizon Wireless, and then Western Europe. China is on track to become the company's biggest market for mobile phones around 2013-14, as Sony Ericsson ranked fifth in smartphone sales in China in the fourth quarter, according to Beijing research firm Analysys International.

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