Verizon drops plans to launch Sony's Xperia Z4v smartphone

Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) scrapped plans to launch Sony's Xperia Z4v smartphone, though Verizon committed to working with Sony and the Japanese electronics firm said it still remains engaged in the U.S. smartphone market. However, the decision to drop the phone is a blow to Sony's goal of expanding sales in the U.S. Meanwhile, Sony said it will spin out its semiconductor business into a new unit in a bid to focus on growth in products like image sensors.

Xperia Z4v

Sony first announced the Z4 in April and in mid-June Verizon announced it would carry a variant of the product sometime "this summer" and call it the Z4v. The Android phone has a 5.2-inch WQHD display, a Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 810 processor, 3 GB of RAM, and 20-megapixel camera, is water resistant and dustproof and supports both Qi and PMA wireless charging.

"Verizon will no longer be launching Xperia Z4v, however we are committed to supporting Sony Mobile's product portfolio and will support existing products," Verizon said in a statement. "Sony is a strategic partner as we continue having ongoing discussions together as part of our future portfolio."

Sony echoed that and said in a statement that "Sony Mobile remains dedicated to the U.S. market and aims to build a sound and stable business in this region. Verizon is a strategic partner as we continue having ongoing discussions together as part of our future portfolio."

However, as The Verge notes, Sony has already moved onto its Xperia Z5 smartphone series, which it introduced in September. Those phones, which come in 4.6-inch, 5.2-inch and 5.5-inch variants, include features like fingerprint authentication, an improved camera and a 4K display in the largest and highest-end model. Sony has not said if it is bringing those models to the U.S. market, where it has struggled to gain traction.

Meanwhile, Sony said its move to spin off its chipset unit is part of the company's efforts to give autonomy to its different divisions to speed up decision-making and make them more accountable for their profitability, according to Reuters. Sensors, especially for smartphone cameras, have been one of Sony's bright spots in recent years. Sony in April said it would spend $374 million (¥45 billion) to bolster sensor production capacity this fiscal year on top of an $874 million investment the company announced in February.

For more:
- see this The Verge article
- see this Reuters article
- see this Blomberg article 

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