Report: All Sony smartphones to be branded X until 2018

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sony xperia X aa 1

True to its pioneering spirit and challenging new ideas, Sony has been with Android from the very beginning, long before Google’s mobile OS gained the massive market share and traction is possesses today. In the years that have passed, numerous numbers and letters have been set to specific smartphone series, with the most current product lines being the Xperia Z, Xperia C, and Xperia M. According to a new report however, in the future, there will be just one spot to mark: X.

Xperia Blog has picked up on a story running through Asia at the moment, which alleges that Sony plans to streamline all of its Xperia handsets into its newly announced “Xperia X” branding, thus effectively spelling and end to the Z, the C, and the M. The new naming nomenclature is said to be going into effect until 2018, and is actually presented by Sony as the demarcation of a new chapter in its product history.

As Xperia Blog puts it,

Sony Mobile presentations appear to show that the Xperia X series marks Sony’s ‘Chapter 3’. Chapter 1 was between 2010-12 and was about the “open OS for web communication”, with the key highlight being the Sony Android phone that started it all – the Xperia X10. Chapter 2 took place between 2013-15 and was about the “best of Sony” highlighted by the Xperia Z series.

Now chapter 3 will take place between 2016-18 and marks “Xperia for new communication”. This is marked by ‘Xperia X’ as a new visual identity for Sony’s brand communication. The new ‘X’ logo will be used in all promotional print and TV advertising.

Pictures published by ePrice Taiwan serve to showcase the situation:

Xperia-X-era_4 - コピー

In the above image, the three stages, or chapters, of Sony’s Xperia brand are clearly delineated.

Xperia-X-era_5 - コピー

In the second image, the new “X” logo is highlighted and, based on the report, will be used for all Xperia devices for the next couple of years

Xperia-X-era_6

In this image, examples of the branding can be seen as applied to different situations. It should be noted however, that the text used here contains Japanese language. It is thus unclear as to if these slides were given in the website’s native Taiwan – which would seem unlikely given the language difference – or were captured from an event in Japan.

It should be clarified, much as Xperia Blog did, that this news does not mean the products themselves are going anywhere, just that their branding is being unified. So there will continue to be multiple smartphones to select from, but just less letters to look at.

Sony’s sales strategy

Much as Sony does try, its phone division continues to operate at a loss. This news, if true, would perhaps serve to streamline not only the branding itself, but the marketing costs that have been associated with releasing multiple brands throughout the year. Sony could, essentially, advertise a single X brand and thus include different products in the same feature. Still, the following slide, also from ePrice Taiwan, says a lot:

Xperia Price Diff

This slide, which is clearly marked as related to Japan’s NTT docomo pricing, shows the “discounted” pricing of the Xperia Z5 when compared with the iPhone 6S. It should be noted that the full retail prices are considerably more expensive for both models, however NTT docomo – as with other carriers here – give “discounts” on customer’s monthly bill if they agree to set terms and conditions such as a 2-year contract, a mandatory unlimited calling plan, and a data plan of some sort.

Even so the fact that the Xperia Z5 costs basically double what the 16GB iPhone 6S  does only serves to illustrate the problems Sony has in Japan. The iPhone, for reference, has the largest market share of all smartphones here. If this situation is expanded internationally however, it gets considerably more difficult for Sony, as exemplified by a recent story about the pricing of its Xperia X Performance in Europe.

Wrap up

While the branding cohesion may serve to simplify some things for Sony, there are still some major battles it still needs to win. Many have criticized the company for what they feel is ignoring of potentially key markets, exclusive agreements with carriers which only serve to limit potential adoption, poor advertising, and uncompetitive pricing.

What do you think? Is this new report instilling some confidence about the future of the Xperia product line, or is it just another effort that will ultimately result in repeating the same mistakes of the past and present?