For a company struggling to remain above water, Sony Ericsson (SE) is perhaps one of the more unlikely handset manufacturers to predict that the global cell phone market will start to experience growth from Q3 or Q4 of this year. SE's CEO, Hideki Komiyama, has told Reuters that is was difficult to be definitive about whether the bottom of the market had been reached, but "I can see the trend. There are probable signs of improvement, but it is still a weak recovery."
This outlook, one of the first from a top-10 handset vendor, came as the marketing director of SE UK, David Hilton, admitted the company's problems had stemmed from having overloaded the market with a wide range of handsets. "The next year will see a smaller number of handsets on our portfolio. That means fewer products, which in turn helps lower costs but still means we can offer new and innovative propositions to help maintain our strong market share."
Hilton also confirmed SE would move away from the iconic Walkman and Cybershot sub-brands and, more crucially, why a PSP phone isn't high on the agenda for the company. "Sub-brands are something we're looking to step away from. When you're looking at the higher end of the market consumers want it all: good gaming, video, music, etc. With a sub-brand, you're kind of putting a limit on the phone."
The likelihood of a PSP handset--a topic that would appear to have caused friction with the SE organisation--remains unresolved with Hilton claiming that it had been problematic as to how to bring the true PlayStation experience to phones.
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