x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sony to use ultra high-definition TV image technology for new flagship smartphone

To lure customers from Apple and Samsung Sony is using "X-Reality" picture enhancement chips developed for Bravia TVs and sensors for its Cyber-shot cameras.

Sony will introduce a flagship Xperia smartphone next month featuring imaging technology developed for its cameras and ultra-high definition TVs, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The new handset will be unveiled on September 4 before the start of the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details haven't been disclosed.

Xperia smartphones are part of chief executive Kazuo Hirai's plan to revive Sony with handsets, TVs and game consoles that connect with the company's entertainment content. To lure customers from Apple and Samsung, the Tokyo-based company is using "X-Reality" picture enhancement chips developed for Bravia TVs and sensors for its Cyber-shot cameras, the people said.

Yu Tominaga, a Tokyo-based spokesman, declined to comment on whether a new Xperia model will be introduced before the IFA show. Apple will unveil its new iPhone at a September 10 event, a person with knowledge of the plans said this month, asking not to be named because the timing isn't public. The scheduled Xperia introduction would be about a week ahead of Apple's event.

Sony's new flagship has been developed under an internal code name of Honami, a Japanese hot-spring area. Sony has been using such names during the development of its handsets, including the Xperia Z, one of the people said.

Billionaire Daniel Loeb, whose Third Point LLC controls funds that own about 6.9 per cent of Sony, cited Honami and other products as ways for Sony to gain market share, according to a July 29 letter to investors.

Sony this month rejected Mr Loeb's push for a partial sale of its entertainment assets, with Hirai citing growing Xperia sales for the company's decision. Smartphone shipments in the June quarter rose to 9.6 million from 7.4 million a year earlier.

Sony expects to sell 42 million smartphones this year, it said.

Sony's smartphone market share in the first three months of 2013 stood at 3.8 per cent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Samsung is the world's biggest smartphone maker with about 33 per cent of the market, according to researcher Strategy Analytics.

In an effort to boost its content offerings, Sony reached a preliminary accord to stream cable television programming from Viacom over the Internet to TVs, game consoles and Blu-ray players, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Earlier this month, Sony raised its full-year sales forecast as a weaker yen boosts the value of exports that account for almost 70 per cent of the company's revenue. Sony's mobile-product segment, which handles smartphones, tablet computers and laptop computers, posted an operating profit for the three months ended June 30, compared with a loss a year earlier.