Sony Ericsson to become Sony and make only smart phones

Sony Ericsson will become just Sony by next summer and will only make smart phones, powered by Android.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
2 min read

Sony Ericsson will become just Sony by next summer. The Japanese giant has assumed full control over the the phone-building company and will only make smart phones, powered by Android, to regain lost ground against the iPhone.

Sony Ericsson has been a joint venture between Sony and Swedish telecoms company Ericsson for the past decade. Along with Nokia, Son Eric was a major name in the phone world until the iPhone and Android ushered in the smart phone revolution.

Sony decided in October to buy out Ericsson for £918m, and the public face of that buyout will be revealed in the first half of 2012.

Sony boss Kristian Tear revealed that the new Sony-only brand would only make smart phones. Sony plans to make the most of its other brands, such as Bravia, Cyber-shot and the iconic Walkman name, to claw back some of the ground lost to Apple and rival Android phone peddlers.

Sony Ericsson has a fistful of phones in the pipeline, including the Nypon and Nozomi, and the hotly anticipated Arc HD. Meanwhile the existing Sony Ericsson Xperia range will be upgraded to Android Ice Cream Sandwich during 2012.

Is it a smart move to give up on phones that aren't smart phones? The line between web-connecting smart phones and simple phones -- dumb phones or feature phones -- is getting blurry, as even the dumbest phones are expected to have cameras, 3G, maps and even basic apps on board.

Perhaps Sony Ericsson is acknowledging that all phones are smart phones nowadays, or perhaps simply confirming that there's no money in shifting even vast quantities of cheap phones. For example, Nokia sells more phones than any other manufacturer -- in large part to the developing world -- but is in financial trouble, and has turned to Windows Phone smart phones for a shot in the arm.

Are all phones smart phones now, or will there always be a place for cheap and cheerful blowers? Can Sony mount a serious smart phone challenge with Apple and Android rivals? Tell us what you think in the comments or on our Facebook page.