Sony Ericcson plans mainland Xperia blitz

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 March, 2011, 12:00am

Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications plans to launch about 30 new games on the mainland this year, after forging partnerships with key domestic developers supporting its soon-to-be-launched PlayStation-type smartphone, the Xperia Play.

The company, a joint venture formed in 2001 by Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony and Swedish telecommunications equipment maker Ericsson, also aims to bring its other high-performance Xperia models to the business sector.

This consumer-entertainment and corporate strategy helped it become the world's No 1 supplier of smartphones based on the Google-developed Android operating system, a market where it competes with Samsung Electronics, HTC Corp and Lenovo Group on the mainland.

'We want to be active to grow in China because Android [mobile operating system] is getting stronger in the market,' Bert Nordberg, president and chief executive of Sony Ericsson, said yesterday.

'You can't be that [biggest player in Android] if you're not in China and the US.'

The target global share this year for Android, a free operating system that handset makers usually customise, is 25 per cent compared with 15 per cent last year, Nordberg said.

Sony Ericsson was the world's fourth-largest mobile phone supplier last year, when it had a 2.6 per cent market share on total shipments of 41.8 million units, including phones with less powerful features, market research firm Gartner said. It had a 4.5 per cent market share in 2009.

It was overtaken by iPhone-maker Apple, which had a 2.9 per cent market share last year, up from 2.1 per cent share in 2009, on shipments of 46.6 million smartphones based on its proprietary operating system. Sony Ericsson plans to launch up to eight new smartphones this year, which will be supported on the mainland by wireless network market leader China Mobile and No 2 player China Unicom.

The Xperia Play, which has a slide-out gaming control, will have five pre-loaded games when it is released in Hong Kong at the end of the month and about 50 dedicated games that can be downloaded outside the mainland via the Android Market.

'I estimate prices for downloaded games [on the mainland] may be US$5 to US$6,' Nordberg said.