Sony Ericsson reveals $318m Q4 loss

Sony Ericsson has reported dismal Q4 2011 financial performance, with a pre-tax loss of €247m ($318m) amid "intense competition" along with the poor economic climate. The company – which will be rolled into Sony later this quarter – has plenty of blame to share around: as well as a strong showing from its rivals and the general economic doldrums, Sony Ericsson reckons price erosion, restructuring charges and the effects from the flooding in Thailand are all at fault.

Conspicuously absent from the list of excuses is any sort of recognition that Sony Ericsson's own range might not have been up to scratch, though perhaps that degree of self-awareness is too much to hope for as the company enters its next evolutionary phase. Devices like the Xperia Arc S and Xperia ray were solid phones but fell short of the dual-core processors and high-definition screens of their Android rivals.

The next generation of devices show quiet promise however, with last week's Xperia ion reveal impressing, though a fair number of low-end phones tipped for 2012 could see Sony taking its eye off the ball. Sony Ericsson at least began to show owners that they mean business with Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades, with a new degree of transparency that proved a marked contrast to its earlier poor update performance.

Nonetheless, people buy phones for what they do today, rather than for updates tomorrow, and that left Sony Ericsson's Q4 performance reeling. The company will announce its full Q4 and 2011 figures on January 25, but you get the feeling Ericsson is really just looking forward to Sony coughing up €1.05bn ($1.47bn) and letting it escape midway through this quarter.