Sony has taken full control of its smartphone destiny and sketched out its ambitions for the market after buying Ericsson's stake in the Sony Ericsson joint venture for just over $1bn.
The purchase appears to lay the ground for Sony to follow the Apple blueprint of producing smartphones that can be integrated with an array of network-connected consumer electronics devices. It should give Sony greater opportunities to differentiate its smartphone offerings and to shake off the perception that it is just another Android phone maker.
In a statement, Sony chairman, CEO and president, Sir Howard Stringer, said the acquisition made sense because the vendor would be able to "more rapidly and more widely offer consumers smartphones, laptops, tablets and televisions that can seamlessly connect with one another and open up new worlds of online entertainment".
Commenting on the deal, Craig Cartier, analyst at Frost & Sullivan's ICT practice, said Sony would be able to exploit its "strength in consumer electronics unencumbered by delays due to the politics of the joint venture".
Sony Ericsson had been "relegated to the status of 'just another' Android player" but Sony's base in consumer electronics could help it "differentiate in this new smartphone ecosystem, something the former joint venture failed to do".
Sony's announcement comes the day after the high profile launch by rival Nokia of its first smartphone models featuring the Windows Phone 7.5 operating system. In a blog posting, Saverio Romeo, senior industry analyst, ICT Europe at Frost & Sullivan argued the launch showed "the Renaissance of Nokia has started".
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