Sony Australia, whose products can now be found in the discount end of a store as Samsung slips into the top end, has launched a new range of products in an effort to stay competitive. They have also confirmed that they will launch a Google TV box as opposed to a Google TV.The Company, who now has to buy their products from third party manufacturers, after being forced to close the bulk of their manufacturing plants following heavy losses and the sacking of more than 25,000 staff, is struggling to stay competitive across several categories as brands like Apple, Nikon, Samsung HTC and LG strip market share away.
Yesterday Sony unveiled a raft of new products including its first ultrabook and a smartphone with a touchscreen that doesn’t have to be touched. The announcements came as their share value sunk to sub 1980 levels.
In the TV market where Sony once dominated, the Company has shown new large-screen TVs with built-in Wi-Fi and connections to tablets and smartphones, as well as the Internet. These are the same features now found as standard in Smart TVs from Samsung, LG and Panasonic.
With some analysts speculating that Sony may even get out of the consumer electronics business, the Company is desperate to prove they are still a brand of choice with consumers.
At a lunch held at Darlinghurst, Sydney’s Table for 20 restaurant – something of a misnomer since two tables were pressed into use, each accommodating 22 hungry reptiles of the press. Invited journalists tucked into beef carpaccio, barramundi and the help-yourself wines with gusto as Sony tried to convince journalists that they are still competitive despite several retailers reducing Sony product ranges in store.
What Sony Australia executives failed to reveal was whether they have been forced to forgo their bonuses after Sony yesterday revealed that seven senior Sony executives – including its new CEO -will not receive bonuses tied to its latest annual results, which saw the troubled firm post a record $5.8 billion loss recently.
In Australia Sony’s first ultrabook, which is not designed or manufactured by Sony, is the Vaio T series and is powered by Intel’s new i5 or i7 Ivy Bridge chips. The device comes in a brushed aluminium case and includes an array of connectivity slots including Ethernet, micro-SD, HDMI and VGA as well as USB. Pricing has not been announced.
There was also a touchscreen all-in-one PC, the Vaio L series, said to be the first with Bravia-standard picture quality, and capable of showing 3D images without the need for glasses.
A new Bravia TV range which comes in 46- and 55-inch sizes is claimed to deliver Sony’s best picture quality yet, and to offer connection to a soon-to-be-released Google TV set-top box.
One of the few products for which Sony did announce a price was its Xperia Sola smartphone, which comes with “floating touch technology” in which users navigate with fingers hovering just above the screen. With a 3.7-inch screen, 5MP camera and 1GHz dual-core processor, it goes for $486 from Harvey Norman stores.
The camera that narcissistic types can be used to take pictures of oneself is the NEX-F3 DSLR. A big back-mounted LCD screen flips up and over 180deg to let users see themselves while holding the camera at arm’s length before pressing the shutter. Prices start at $699 and there’s a range of interchangeable e-mount lenses including a new 18-200 11x zoom.
Sony Australia who is reluctant to talk about their business performance are not saying how they are performing in the Australian market.
Overnight Sony said that former chief executive Howard Stringer and his successor Kazuo Hirai are among those who will not be paid performance-linked bonuses.
In the past senior executives were handed bonuses of 2.8 million, despite the Company reporting billions in losses.
Recently Sony reported a record full-year loss of 456.66 billion yen in its latest business year, the fourth consecutive annual shortfall, as it struggles to stem losses at its television division.
On Monday, Sony shares fell below 1,000 yen for the first time since 1980, shrinking its market value to less than a tenth of what it was just over a decade ago.
In April, Sony said it would cut about 10,000 jobs and spend nearly $1.0 billion on an overhaul that its new chief executive described as “urgent”.
In Australia, Samsung and Apple has become the brand of choice in the consumer electronics market as consumers dump the Sony brand. The same has happened to Nokia and Research in Motion makers of the Blackberry phone.