Sony, the challenger

Sony, the challenger
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With Sony having clambered into second spot in the UK Android smartphone market, the question has to be asked whether it can break the stranglehold duopoly of Samsung and Apple.

Sony's 'Made of Imagination' campaign for its Xperia range of handsets has certainly resonated with the consumer, and sales were further boosted by its links with Skyfall, the latest Bond film.

The momentum Sony gained has already been reflected in the global market after it took third place behind Apple and Samsung - having benefited from declining sales for Nokia, HTC and RIM. There's also talk of a new Sony portfolio being launched next year with a high-end device being the centrepiece. It is already being described as the 'iPhone killer' - but let's wait and see on that.

It would certainly boost the competitiveness of the UK smartphone market, but the reality is that Sony would have to contend with the awesome marketing resources being demonstrated by Samsung and Apple.

According to figures for the third quarter, Samsung, the market leader, increased its share to 31.3% from 22.7% a year earlier, while Apple's share rose to 14.6% from 13.8%. So, Samsung and Apple together control nearly half of the market, while none of the other players holds more than 5%, according to IDC figures. That's still the stark reality.

Sony's brand name is its big weapon - if it can utilise this successfully in Europe, then it will have a distinct advantage over some of the other manufacturers. Remember, once ipon a time it was known as the manufacturer of some of the coolest gadgets.

There is still an emphasis on the quad convergence policy with music, film and the Playstation at the heart of its strategy. As Sony's UK MD Pierre Perron says, it has a story to tell and it wll continue to tell that story with mobile being one part of it.

However, resources will continue to be the problem as the last set of figures revealed that Sony was still losing money. And this is what Sony will have to tackle head on...if the Sony story that the senior executives want to tell is to have a happy ending.

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