Sony sees its smartphones as critical to its entertainment business

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HTC, LG, and Sony are three companies from three different countries that have two things in common. All three’s mobile businesses have been bleeding for years and none of them are ready to give up the fight just yet. But while HTC and LG seem to just be going through the motions of launching smartphones, Sony has a more specific vision for its mobile devices. And, somewhat ironically, it’s not really for the sake of smartphones themselves but for the core of its consumer electronics business: entertainment.

That was the message that Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida gave journalists on Wednesday. He said that Sony’s consumer electronics business has always centered around entertainment. Sony is most popular for its TVs and audio equipment and hasn’t entered the broader appliance market, even smart or connected ones.

He also believes that smartphones have an important role to play in sustaining that business. Younger generations, he says, no longer watch TV, or at least don’t watch their shows on TV. Be it video or music, consumers are increasingly resorting to their phones for content consumption. Sony’s Xperia phones, then, are crucial to keeping is brand alive.

That might be a difficult task considering how few Sony phones are sold each year. It is also cutting down on its presence in certain markets, focusing only on Europe and East Asia. It’s an attempt to cut down on expenses but it also cuts down on the reach of those phones in the process.

There is no shortage of calls for Sony to ditch its continuously money-losing mobile business. Instead, they say it should focus on Sony Pictures and PlayStation. It is clear that Yoshida wants the company to stick to its guns but it might only be a matter of time before it has nothing left to give.

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