PC brand VAIO is preparing for the release of smartphone bearing VAIO brand in the Japanese market as early as in January 2015.
VAIO spun off from Sony and became independent in 1st July 2014 as a result of the company’s stagnated PC sector. The business is currently centralizing its designing and product quality control works in Azumino, Nagano, in its effort to establish itself as a high-quality PC brand.
It is speculated that the new product will be an Android smartphone. Since the company incorporated as VAIO has only been existent for half a year, it is likely that they let their first products manufactured by one of the numerous ODM and EMS in the mainland China and Taiwan while selling the products under the VAIO label. In the future, the company might produce models they independently plan and design.
The reaction of the majority of mass media to the news was that VAIO “will compete with Sony’s Xperia.”
While any comments below are just speculations, VAIO’s aim may be to “specialize” in an area of focus rather than to compete with Sony in the same field.
The failure of Xperia left no choice for Sony but to withdraw from the Chinese market. Selling inexpensive versions of Xperia in China, however, is not a very practical solution, as Chinese manufacturers excel in producing cheap smartphones.
At examining ways to revamp Xperia sales, it’s reintroduction as a cheap smartphone would completely lack consistency with its established image as a premium smartphone.
Xperia is ranked at the highest end of the Android brands, and carriers value it most highly.
Therefore, it would be too risky for it to reshape its image as a low-cost brand and join the competition with cheaper models in the Japanese market at the cost of losing carriers’ support.
Then, it may be wise to use VAIO, a company without any close connection with carriers, to enter the cheap smartphone market under the VAIO brand.
While generously pouring in all technologies accumulated under Sony, including 4K and high-resolution audio, VAIO will brand its models as reasonable and affordable, rather than putting emphases on Sony’s technologies.
For Sony group, the strategy to establish Xperia and VAIO as two separate lineups targeting mega carriers and LCC respectively seems perfectly logical.