Sony Mobile has forged ahead of rival HTC in Q3, taking second place behind Samsung in the UK’s Android smartphone market.
Latest figures show the Xperia manufacturer overtook HTC during the summer, selling 500,000 Android units in the UK to HTC’s 440,000, although both lost market share to Samsung, with its Android sales standing at 3.2 million.
The news comes as Sony intensifies its smartphone drive, with Sony Mobile German sales chief Dennis van Schie revealing last week that Sony will launch a major new flagship model to rival the iPhone and Galaxy S III at CES 2013 in January.
The company is also rumoured to be making the next Nexus smartphone for Google after benchmarking website Nenamark showed an Android 5.0 operating system, known as Key Lime Pie, running on a Sony-made smartphone.
Speaking to Mobile, Pierre Perron (pictured), UK MD of Sony Mobile, declined to discuss its recent sales figures but said: ‘All sources are confirming the same trend – that we are jumping into second place in the UK Android segment. This is what all our customers are telling us, that Sony Mobile is considered a top player in the UK Android space.’
Perron said sales had been driven by UK consumers reacting ‘very positively’ to the launch of the Sony Mobile brand earlier this year, and to the major marketing campaign behind Skyfall, the latest James Bond movie, which featured its Xperia T smartphone which was launched exclusively through O2. Perron said: ‘Skyfall has boosted the visibility of our smartphones and has also been a marvellous marketing tool for the brand.’
He added that Sony’s gaming, music and movie content offering was crucial to driving smartphone sales. ‘More and more of our partners are asking us to work more closely with them. It is no longer about just launching a smartphone and hoping consumers will buy it. It is about the story we are telling, offering the very best content experience. That content is becoming more important.’
Perron confirmed Sony Mobile is considering other operating systems besides Android but added, ‘Android is probably the best fit’ for the manufacturer currently because it offers ‘easy and unified access across the Sony portfolio’. ‘We are discussing other alternatives and we are open to other possibilities providing the platform enables us to build on that tradition,’ he added.
IDC devices analyst Francisco Jeronimo said Sony’s split from Ericsson last year had given operators greater confidence in the brand. He said: ‘Operators are much keener to support what is one of the biggest electronics brands in the world with an entire range of integrated services. Sony Mobile has also done a good job on the hardware, the software and the price points and now has Bond behind it.’
Editor: Carol Millett