Monday, February 25, 2013

Sony revives old values as Xperia Tablet Z launches globally

Tony Cripps, devices and platforms analyst, Ovum

SPAIN: Sony Mobile gave its Xperia Tablet Z a global launch at Mobile World Congress 2013 following an advanced launch with NTT Docomo in Japan in January. The Android-based device comes in both Wi-Fi-only and combined LTE/Wi-Fi versions and is expected to go on sale in May. Carrier partners have not yet been announced outside of Japan.

The Xperia Tab is intended to restore Sony’s core values in the minds of consumers rather than change the tablet market status quo. The company only has modest expectations for sales of the device, which is very much aimed at the premium end of the tablet spectrum. It is certainly not cheap and has Apple’s iPad as its primary competition after all.

However, in terms of design, build quality, features (including excellent sound and display), usability, and exclusivity, the Xperia Tab may prove to be a key product in Sony’s rebirth. This has been underway since the company brought the previously wayward Sony Mobile back into the fold following its acquisition of Ericsson’s share in the venture.

As a “halo” forming product, the Xperia is an excellent showcase for Sony’s revitalized Xperia smartphone range, especially the top of the range Xperia Z. It is also a valuable shop window for Sony’s premium content services. These are front and center of the device user experience and an important point of differentiation over the majority of its device rivals.

Whether or not Sony can fully capitalize on its revived opportunity remains to be seen. However, its broad asset portfolio, which also includes the newly-launched PlayStation 4, should have increasing resonance with important segments of the broader consumer technology market."

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