Sony CEO Keeps Focus
New products stick to key marketsJanuary 8, 2013 By Jeff O'Heir
When Karou Hirai was named Sony CEO last year, he vowed to focus on four things: digital imaging, gaming, mobile and turning around the company's TV business. It was clear during Sony's 2013 CES press conference Monday that Hirai is sticking to his strategy.
The focus on key products and technologies - 4K TVs and camcorders, connected cameras, a "super" smartphone, universal connectivity - was apparent by the lack of movie and music stars former CEO Howard Stringer liked to roll out in the past.
"We really wanted to show everyone the product as opposed to other things," said Phil Molyneux, Sony's president and COO. "It was about the beauty of 4K TVs, our advancements in digital imaging, and the simplicity of Sony One-touch."
One of this year's product highlights is Sony's new Experia Z smartphone (launching in Q1), which features a 5-inch full 1080p HD screen, LTE, Android's Jelly Bean OS, a Snapdragon S4 Pro quad core 1.5MHz processor, and a 13-megapixel camera. Tapping into its deep history of imaging technology, Sony added Exmor RS for mobile, an image sensor with High Dynamic Range (HDR) video that is designed to take sharper and more vibrant stills and videos, even in poorly lit or backlit conditions. The Xperia Z is dust and water resistant to a depth of one meter for up to 30 minutes.
The Xperia Z can also take advantage of the new One-touch function Sony has incorporated into many of its 2013 product lines. Based on near field communication (NFC), One-touch is designed to wirelessly connect the smartphone to NFC-enabled devices - such as select BRAVIA TVS, a new line of Bluetooth speakers ($60-$299; March), a Blu-ray player, sound bar, other mobile devices, and Sony's new Personal Content Station - for easily sharing, transferring and managing content.
The convergence of cameras with smartphones and tablets continued with the new Cyber-shot DSC-WX80 camera ($199; Jan.), designed to let consumers easily share images directly to a smartphone; and the competitively priced, ruggedly designed Cyber-shot DSC-TF1 ($199; Jan.). New Handycam models (HDR-PJ790V, HDR-PJ650V, and HDR-PJ430V) include a brighter built-in projector than earlier models and Wi-Fi capabilities.
Sony added 55- and 65- inch 4K TVs to its lineup (the XBR-65X900A and the XBR-55X900A, both scheduled for shipment this spring), which already included an 84-inch model launched late last year. The new models will carry a more affordable price tag, Molyneux said. Sometime this summer, Sony will launch a 4K distribution service that will work in conjunction with a dedicated 4K Media Player. The service will initially include about 10 4K native content movies. Sony executives would not provide further details.