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A recent article on Bloomberg said that high-quality audio is going mainstream, led by Sony:
Sony needs to capitalize on this by releasing a WALKMAN PHONE. That's because, even though many people do want high-quality audio, they don't necessarily want to buy a separate device. Putting Walkman audio in a smartphone would make an attractive choice for people who are in the market for a new phone AND who want better quality audio then they've been getting on mainstream phones.
Also, Walkman carries powerful name recognition, which could help revive Sony's sagging smartphone business.
Incidentally, for this reason, Sony should not shutter its smartphone xperia business, because most people are NOT going to want to buy a separate audio device. Selling a Walkman phone would serve people who want the high quality audio but don't want to buy a stand-alone audio device--they could simply get a Sony Walkman Phone to replace their smartphone.
Sony can no longer rely on the 'Build it and they will come' approach.Not with its smartphone share shrinking to 3%. Not with Apple and Samsung and others blistering the airwaves. Apple gets a huge boost from the media-- business channels like Bloomberg and CNBC regularly drop the iPhone and iPad name even when they're not talking about Apple shares, and Time and Wall Street Journal hype Apple products ahead of their launch. Even smaller players like HTC, Nokia and Motorola at least make their products known by running a few commercials from time to time. But I've never seen a Sony smartphone or tablet commercial. Sony had a great opportunity when it released the first waterproof phone in the Z1in early 2013. There was a lot of buzz at Mobile World Congress in Madrid. But then, no marketing push behind it. It was a missed opportunity, because a few months later it was summer and water sports season, and guess who stole Sony's thunder? Samsung. It ran a commercial for the waterproofed version of the Galaxy S4. Samsung had apparently rushed to market a waterproof version AND ran a beautiful commercial showing people happily enjoying their summer activities with their waterproof Samsung. Why didn't Sony do this?
Speaking of water sports, it should run a commercial with that one-piece MP3 headset, with people swimming, running in the rain, fishing, boating, whatever. It's really the modern version of those yellow and blue waterproof Walkmans that came out in the 1990s.
I don't even know why Sony is bothering to put out a Z4 if it's not going to market it or make it available on most carriers. It'll be an amazing phone, for sure. But no one will buy it because they won't know about it. Case in point: the Z3. It got amazing reviews. Even the Wall Street Journal, which loves the iPhone, said in October that the Z3 "is getting rave reviews" but suffered from "lack of distribution". It even quoted a Gizmodo writer who said the Z3 is a "fantastic" phone but wasn't marketed or distributed. Forbes Magazine said the Z3 is an "iPhone slayer". A lot of tech writers noted that few people are even aware of Sony phones. I read a customer review on the T-Mobile website that said that whenever that customer pulls out his phone, people are surprised that Sony actually makes phones. Sony lost another opportunity after the iPhone 6 was launched. While others raved about iPhone, Digitaltrends.com said that the Sony Z3 "stands tall above Apple's new flagship". Many other critics said pretty much the same thing in the weeks after the iPhone 6 launch. It was as if they were saying, Hey, there's stuff that's better than iPhone, so don't get lost in the hype! But Sony failed to build on that momentum. Is it any wonder, then, that the mobile division posted a $2 billion loss last fall? It's almost as if Sony is afraid to ruffle feathers by running ads. Samsung isn't. Xiaomi isn't. And Sony doesn't even have to be obnoxious like Samsung and HTC have. They don't have to make fun of Apple like Samsung likes to do in its commercials. Just run a feel-good commercial, sort of like Apple always does. At least get the word out, Sony. Let us, the customers, know you're still there. Let us know you're still making amazing products. I mean, Z3: 4K recording, 20-MP camera, battery life longer than Samsung or Apple, Playstation capability, and WATERPROOFING. If only people knew about it. SONY, you are throwing away money if you develop and release a phone only to have people buy something else simply because they have no idea you even make phones. Take the advice that the biggest business magazine, Wall Street Journal, gave you last fall: you have to concentrate on marketing and distribution. It's not just WSJ's advice. It's what your founder, Akio Morita said two decades ago, that marketing is almost as important as having a great product.
The Playstation brand is one of the most powerful brands in the consumer electronics marketplace, and it has more momentum now than it ever has: it is outselling Xbox nearly 2 to 1 worldwide.
Point is, Sony needs to LEVERAGE the Playstation brand for its other devices, especially smartphones. This is to draw the tens of millions of Playstation fans to its smartphones, and also to draw awareness of Sony smartphones from consumers who aren't hardcore gamers. The thing is, the Playstation brand is so powerful that even those who aren't gamers know what it is, and that it's Sony. Placing the Playstation marque on the phone will at least invite interest: "Hey, I can play really cool games and get Sony movies, music and content on my phone."
Speaking of music and content, that's where the Walkman brand could be leveraged as well. Now, that $1000+ Walkman introduced at the CES was cool, but few people want to spend that amount on just a Walkman. I know that Sony is introducing a Sony Xperia Music phone, but 'Music' is not a brand, and it won't draw in customers. They have music on their phones anyway. But making an Xperia Walkman-branded phone would be like when HTC released Beats-branded phones: it immediately tells people that they're getting high-quality audio in their phone. Not only that, but there's such a powerful nostalgia factor with the very word, 'Walkman'. It is synonymous not just with music and audio, but with good times when you were young. So, Sony, release a WALKMAN PHONE. You could even use the gun metal look that you had in the original Walkman. What Sony has over all the other electronics makers is the NOSTALGIA factor. People think of Sony when they think of good times in the 1980s. Take advantage of this, Sony. This is your ace in the sleeve, your get-out-of-jail-free card. Sure, Apple has the mid-1980s Mac, but that has nothing to do with personal electronics. The Walkman has everything to do with personal electronics, because it CREATED personal electronics.