Sony Ditching Feature Phone Market to Focus on High-End Devices like Xperia Z

Sony Corp. (NYSE:SNE) is apparently hoping to challenge the likes of Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Corp. (005930:KS) by leaving the “feature phone” market behind and focusing more on top-shelf smartphones such as the so-called “flagship” Xperia Z.

Sony Chief Executive Kazuo “Kaz” Hirai told Bloomberg last week that Sony plans to monetize its smartphone division by creating devices that consumers would want to buy. “We are more in toward the high end of the market as opposed to trying to get into the commoditized portion,” said the executive when explaining his decision to move to the high-end smartphone market.

To this end, Hirai added that Sony will be sticking with Google, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system (OS) and trying to create flagship, or high-end smartphones that could compete with devices such as the iPhone and Galaxy S series of Apple and Samsung respectively. These phones will be devices designed to “wow people” and strike a chord in consumers’ emotions.

While Sony does indeed have some big plans going forward, its biggest concern for the year 2013 still may be how to get some buy-in from US mobile carriers, as major carriers in the country have not been known to offer too many Sony handsets.

Verizon Wireless, for instance, has the widest 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network in the United States, but is presently not offering any Sony handsets. AT&T is the only one which does, and had only started with the Xperia TL and the Xperia Ion.

As the Xperia Z made quite an impressive showing at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, it may behoove Sony to leverage this device and hope that it gets offered by not just one, but maybe all of the United States’ major carriers.