We recently posted about Sony's intention to release a Sony Xperia with six rear cameras at the back. That's definitely a lot of cameras, and is likely aimed to be a smartphone aimed for photographers, similar to the Nokia 9 PureView. But even with such an announcement, there's definitely a question many of us Malaysians would have in mind.
Isn't Sony Mobile dead here?
The answer is unsurprisingly yes. With little to no fanfare, no official announcements, Sony Mobile has left the Malaysian mobile scene. They're not the only mobile manufacturing company to do so; Motorola has also left Malaysia, while LG Mobile is pretty much non-existant.
So even if the specs of the upcoming Sony Xperia mobile sounds exciting and worthy of our money, it won't be as easily available here as before. But what caused this? Why did Sony Mobile leave Malaysia, when Sony remains a powerful brand here?
Here are three signs that pretty much signalled the end of Sony Mobile in Malaysia:
1. They sold mid-range smartphones at flagship prices
If you ask tech experts who keep tabs on the mobile market, they will point out how it was the Xperia X series that became the final nail on the coffin for Sony Mobile, being doomed from the start.
The Xperia X is a mid-range smartphone that was launched back in 2016 and went on sale for MYR2,499 in Malaysia, which is pretty much a flagship price. It came with a Snapdragon 650 processor, a 23MP camera that doesn’t shoot in 4K and it isn’t even water resistant. With that kind of specs, it was obvious no one was going to fork out the money for it. Even the Xperia X Compact didn’t fare much better either, with a price tag of MYR1,999 it's still considered way too pricey for what really is a mid range smartphone.
2. Their latest smartphones couldn't compete
With so many smartphone manufacturing companies coming out with smartphones with great tech at affordable prices, flagship smartphones constantly revealing advanced tech, Sony remained stagnant. Even if their smartphones were well known for being water resistant and had their own premium trademark that made it attractive to Sony fans, it just couldn't keep up.
Their last smartphone launch by Sony Malaysia is proof of that. They launched the Sony Xperia XZ2 back in March 2018, and the last model released locally was the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium and it was sold without much fanfare on their online store.
Since then, the Xperia 1 and Xperia 10 had been launched at the MWC 2019 with no sign of it coming here. Now, even if you can find the smartphone section on the Sony Mobile Malaysia website, that's not only the latest smartphone they offer, there's no link or price for you to purchase one for yourself.
Not only is it a sign that they left the Malaysian mobile market, it also shows that Sony has no intention of releasing anything new to us. So even if the Sony Xperia with 6 rear cameras is launched, it won't make it here for sure.
3. Sony themselves no longer view Malaysia as a viable mobile market
It wasn't made obvious, but it was through a presentation on Sony IR Day that confirmed what many had suspected for a while now. Sony wasn't direct about it, but Sony’s Senior Executive Vice President, Shigeki Ishizuka, revealed a map that showed how Sony Mobile has shifted its attention to only a handful of countries. For now this includes Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong as well as certain European countries. The fact that Malaysia and other countries were not mentioned meant that they no longer view us as viable markets.
SoyaCincau even managed to talk to some Sony executives at MWC 2017, and were informed that Sony's focus was on profitability rather than market share and Sony has been making losses before they had the X series.
Even though the company is no longer in the red, it's obvious that in order to star that way, they would have to leave a number of countries, including ours.
It's a sad end to a popular brand, but at the same time it's a lesson necessary to learn in understanding the current mobile market especially here in Malaysia. Maybe in due time, Sony will look into our side of the world again, but before that it's best they come up with a smartphone that can really stand out among the many available now.
Maybe that Sony Xperia with 6 rear cameras could change that? Who knows. For now though, it looks quite unlikely.