Sony: 2016 will make or break mobile business

For the first time in many years, things might be starting to look good for Sony's smartphone business, but it isn't out of the woods yet. The recently unveiled Sony Xperia Z5 looks promising but the company still needs to achieve a massive turnaround to recoup its losses. Naturally, Sony "feels" optimistic that things are going for the better, but just in case, it has set next year as the deadline for its mobile business, which could end up getting sold if things don't turn out well.

To be fair, Sony has been having problems across almost all of its divisions. It sold off its ailing VAIO PC business and was rumored to be even be considering doing the same for its TV line. Just this week, it spun off its imaging sensor division, it's so far strongest business next to the PlayStation, into its own company. That gives it the opportunity to hunker down on its biggest pain point: smartphones.

Sony once held a special spot in the market, but that has since dwindled down to a negligible one percent in the US, and even 17.5 percent in its home country of Japan. The company faces strong competition both from the giants like Apple and Samsung as well as the myriad of more affordable brands in Asia, particularly from China. It faces an almost Herculean task of reinstating its relevance in an already saturated smartphone market.

And Sony might have finally gotten it right this time around. After the flop that was the Xperia Z4/Z3+, the new Xperia Z5 family is poised to help Sony reclaim its spot, especially if it has finally gotten around the overheating problems that plagued its half-flagship. The smartphone's cameras have proven to be quite formidable, reinforcing Sony's prowess in the imaging field. And after refining its hardware, Sony is now focusing on the software experience. It has opened up its "Concept for Android" experiment to 10,000 owners of Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact devices in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany, in an attempt to solicit feedback on its next big step in smartphones.

Sony's three years' worth of cost cutting and restructuring might finally be paying off. Company representatives feel quite confident that they are on track towards a more profitable fiscal year next year. For now, they aren't yet backing out from the smartphone rat race, but how long that sentiment will last will depend on just how much its turnaround will be next year.

SOURCE: Reuters, Sony