Sony Mobile’s President talks 2020 product strategy and impact from COVID-19

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Sony Xperia fans are playing a waiting game until its range of 2020 smartphones are available. To tide you over until then, it’s worth checking out some of the latest comments from Sony Mobile’s President Mitsuya Kishida.

This comes from an interview with Japanese publication AV Watch. The interview was conducted via video conference, like most meetings are these days. It covers a range of topics including the new Xperia naming structure, the integration of the mobile business within Sony, the camera focus and the impact from coronavirus. We’ve included some excerpts below, but for the full interview please click on the source link below.

Comments from Mitsuya Kishida, Sony Mobile President

On the new Xperia naming structure

There was a lot of debate over the naming part because I wanted to maintain the unchanging Sony Mobile attitude. So after the naming of Xperia 1, Xperia 5 and Xperia 10 came out, we decided to go from “1” to “1 II”, with the idea being that we will continue to evolve the smartphones steadily. On that basis, you can assume it will go from “1 II” to “1 III” to “1 IV”.

When I decided to move from “1” to “1 II”, I began to make it with the awareness that Sony’s uniqueness will not be lost and the core pillars inherited will evolve.

On more deeper integration with other Sony businesses

2018/19 was a year of great change for us. Until then, the attitude of developing products, the design method, the procurement method, the place of production, the way of selling, and even the information system used for Sony Mobile were different from Sony. In a nutshell, I think I’ve spent two years “integrating with Sony”.

In 2019, we have a sales system centred on overseas, especially with Sony’s sales companies, but from April 1st, the sales system will also be integrated in Japan. As for manufacturing, as of today, we have changed to a production system that is concentrated in Thailand.

For a long time, we have been trying to complete the structural transformation as soon as possible. By completing this, we can move our mind positively toward strengthening product strength.

On Sony’s multi-camera focus

We went back to the basics and rebuilt it. Sony’s cameras are honest, the pictures are not “fake”, and they don’t seem to lie much. This time, we’ve tried to do a triple lens + ToF (time-of-flight sensor), but I think you can understand our intentions just by looking at one use of ToF. We use the ToF intensively for autofocus.

In order to realize real-time eye pupil focus, we are developing AI technology with the full force of our efforts. We’re measuring a lot of places in a single frame, but our goal is to focus on the eyes. People are attracted to the face, especially the eyes, so if the focus on the eyes is right, the impression will make a big difference. This time, we are doing this thoroughly. We made the image sensor a large 1/1.7-inch and combined it with the rangefinder to make it absolutely focus on your eyes, even in the dark.

Since it’s a smartphone, it can’t do the same thing as a DSLR. However, we want to bring you a surprise on what can be achieved with a smartphone.

On the impact from coronavirus

This situation started in China. As you know, today’s smartphones are dependent on Chinese companies for many parts, so some parts are lagging early. However, the situation is improving day by day and we are catching up. We are working desperately to ensure that this year’s plans, product launches and profitability will not be affected.

In the case of Sony Mobile, all manufacturing has been transferred to Thailand. Thailand is also in a difficult situation due to the declaration of an emergency, but we are proceeding with each other’s confirmation each morning.

On Xperia PRO

Last year, we released “Xperia 1 Professional Edition”. Although the sales volume was not so large in itself, we would like to sell “PRO” to B2B customers more widely, and we would like to deliver it to operators (mobile phone operators) as well. I would like to deliver it to my own sales channel as well.

Via AVWatch.

Thanks Diogo!

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