By Jimmie Geddes email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Feb 25, 2013 02:09 PM EST
Sony has had a long history of trying to turn things around in its smartphone business by abandoning one mobile OS after another and hoping that a new platform will bring Sony the success it so desperately needs in the smartphone world. It is now banking on adopting Mozilla's Firefox OS for a future Xperia smartphone, which is expected to be released in 2014.
Bob Ishida, deputy CEO and executive vice president of Sony Mobile, speaking about a multi-year deal between the company and Telefonica to support Sony Xperia products has said: "Our engineers are now working with Firefox OS Mobile and HTML5, evolving technologies which show great potential. In addition, we continue to work with our operator partners, including Telefónica, on a development project with an ambition to bring a product to market in 2014."
Marieta del Rivero, general manager of Telefónica's Global Devices Strategy responded: "As well as the great opportunity we have in 2013, our further collaboration around a possible device on the Firefox OS mobile platform will create the opportunity to reach new segments of the market, allowing us to provide an even wider choice of premium Sony device offerings for our customers."
Will this latest move to another mobile operating system bring Sony the success it's hoping for? Sony is not abandoning Android, but like most smartphone makers, Sony does not want to put all of its eggs in one basket.
Sony has used many different mobile operating systems in its smartphones through the years, but hasn't found much success. Sony launched its first smartphone in 2002, the Sony Ericsson P800, which ran on the Symbian OS. Sony released a few Symbian-based smartphones over the years but it never materialized into the success Sony was hoping for. Sony was itching for a new smartphone OS and it had its sights on Windows Mobile.
In 2008 Sony announced it would become a Windows Mobile licensee, which made sense at the time because Microsoft's smartphone OS was the market leader. Sony launched the Xperia X1 in 2008, which was then followed by the Xperia X2 in 2009. Again, Sony didn't experience the success and sales it had been hoping Windows Mobile would bring to its party. The next logical step for Sony would be Android.
Sony released the Xperia Arc in 2011; it was the latest handset released by Sony running Android as its OS. Sony decided that Android was the future after seeing how well other smartphone manufacturers were doing with Google's mobile OS. Sony would go on to release many Android tablets and smartphones since then, but the company still has not found the kind of success seen by rivals Samsung and Apple.
The move to Firefox OS appears to be yet another change in strategy for the company. Instead of waiting to see how the mobile operating system does for other manufacturers, Sony has decided to take a gamble and be one of the first smartphone makers to commit to building smartphones running Mozilla's OS.
If Sony's track record is any indication of how this will work out, don't be surprised to see Sony become a licensee of Windows Phone in the future. At least Sony knows that if Firefox OS doesn't bode well, it already has another OS to jump on. Do you think a Firefox OS-based Xperia will help Sony better establish itself in the smartphone world, or will it have the same kind of results as Sony's earlier attempts? Let us know in the comments.
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