BARCELONA: SONY DID NOT announce the upcoming Xperia Z4 at Mobile World Congress (MWC), contrary to widespread rumours, instead launching an update to the 10in Xperia Z4 Tablet alongside an entry-level handset, the Xperia M4 Aqua.
The Sony press conference was more low key than the firm's announcements at previous MWC events. Last year, the firm unveiled the Xperia Z2 smartphone, six months after the release of the Z1 at IFA the previous September.
However, we spoke to the company's VP for Western Europe, Pierre Perron, who told us that the delay was intentional.
The company's product strategy and release cycle has changed this time round to concentrate on consumer "experience" and bring a bigger update with the next top-end launch, he maintained.
Sony's usual product release cycle is every six months, a reflection of the chipset market, which the firm has said gives it the opportunity to offer demanding customers the latest technologies and innovative experiences in entertainment, music, games, and so on, at a faster pace.
Sony has changed this in 2015 and decided not to rush out a smartphone "just for the sake of it", as Perron said.
He explained that Sony will no longer announce a new handset every six months if it isn't going to be able to offer anything unique or innovative by doing so.
"I don't think this is whether we should or shouldn't be announcing products. It's leading to the fact that the company is focusing more on the consumer experience as opposed to just launching [a device] for the sake of launching, so you'll see this major change in our strategy," Perron said.
"The innovation is not so much about launching and announcing a flagship with more and more megapixels and so on, it's about how can you make consumers' lives more innovative and more relevant as we go forward."
He used the example of the software features and updates Sony has rolled out since the launch of the Xperia Z3 in October, including PS4 Remote WiFi and new camera technology.
"This is what it's all about. We are focusing on bringing what is unique to the brand, bringing this content element into our proposition, such as Sony Lounge," said Perron.
"This is what you need to understand. We will continue to launch beautiful hardware but it's not the only thing anymore.
"The story is beyond that. It's whether you are expanding consumer experience beyond a technology standpoint, making sure these experiences are available to as many consumers as soon as possible, even those who bought products six months ago."
This is a change of tune from last year's MWC, when Perron told us that companies, like Apple, should update their devices as often as they can so that consumers are not missing out on the latest innovations.
Sony instead focused on use of its exisiting tablets and wearables, announcing a partnership with Virgin Atlantic that will see the airline trial Sony's SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1, tablet, mobile phone and SmartWatch 3 at Heathrow starting next week to save paper, and connect maintenance and engineering staff
We don't know exactly when Sony is planning to announce its next smartphone, but it will be later this year. µ
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