BARCELONA // Sony’s Mobile Communications chief executive, Hiroki Totoki, says he expects the division to break into a profit this year, as its extensive cost-cutting programme nears completion.
“The transformation programme that we launched last year is almost at an end,” Mr Totoki told The National in an exclusive interview.
“We have achieved what we set out to achieve for 2015 and I think in 2016 we can expect to make a profit,” he said.
“Our financial strength has come back and lots of areas of our operations are improving.”
The mobile division’s operating income more than doubled last quarter to ¥24.1 billion (Dh791.9 million), following Sony’s decision to withdraw from the lower-end smartphone market.
Mr Totoki said that the company might continue distributing its budget-level Xperia C range of devices, depending on demand from operators and distributors.
Mr Totoki said that Sony’s initiatives in the field of virtual reality would remain confined to its long-awaited PlayStation VR platform in the short term, with no current plans for a mobile offering.
“Within our gaming and network services division we have lots of users who are keen to have VR as an experience, so we will focus on that area first,” he said in the interview.
“We will work on creating good-quality content in the gaming arena first within the Sony group, create a new market and then we, as Sony Mobile, would think about how to work alongside. That is the right order I believe.”
Sony began work on its PlayStation VR platform, originally known as Project Morpheus, in 2014.
The company, which has not given any details about launch dates or pricing, will showcase the technology at next month’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco (March 14-18).
In addition to its new Xperia X range, Sony has used this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to showcase a range of smart home “concept” products.
These include the Xperia Agent, a smart home hub featuring a microphone and rotating camera, and the Xperia Projector, which projects images and information on to a vertical or horizontal surface, which in turn acts as a user interface.
Mr Totoki said it was too early to tell whether such products would see the light of commercial release in their current form.
“We have had a number of meetings with operators and distributors and they have welcomed this sort of concept,” he said.
“They are very excited to be involved with these products, so we are confident we can develop a new market with them.”
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