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Sony Mobile’s Hideyuki Furumi: We don’t want to generalize product positioning

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MR is a future area

At IFA 2017 in Berlin, I had the opportunity to chat with Hideyuki Furumi, Sony Mobile Global Sales and Marketing EVP. Mr Furumi had just stepped off the stage after announcing the Xperia XZ1, and he had some interesting points on tackling the heavily competitive smartphone space, the special place of the UAE and KSA, and positioning the brand to appeal to new market audiences.

MR is a future area

At IFA 2017 in Berlin, I had the opportunity to chat with Hideyuki Furumi, Sony Mobile Global Sales and Marketing EVP. Mr Furumi had just stepped off the stage after announcing the Xperia XZ1, and he had some interesting points on tackling the heavily competitive smartphone space, the special place of the UAE and KSA, and positioning the brand to appeal to new market audiences.

jcrop-preview

When you are developing flagship like the XZ1, what are factors you take into consideration? How do you balance being appealing to current users while attracting new customers, say millennials.

I think what we’re trying to do, is as much as possible, we don’t want to generalize the generations. Say I’m in the 50’s and you’re in the 40’s. You’re in the same generation, and do we all like the same things? No, right? I think generalization is more of an afterthought. But if we are to think of a target customer regardless of age, they need to have a deep pocket to some extent, because our devices are more expensive. At the same time they appreciate the quality and what our devices can do, say for example our picture quality or audio sound quality, I believe our devices sound the best amongst the competition. Or what the cameras can do in terms of reality capabilities. That segment of the customers who are actively seeking for value in those kind of technical advancements. Technical advancement means higher quality of the user experience. That’s the segmentation, if I am to speak to, that what we should be appealing to and what Sony appeals to.

Sony revealed the Super Slow Motion on the Xperia XZ Premium and now you have 3D creator on the Xperia XZ1. Would you say the brand is looking at creating communities or for enabling social media engagement with features like this? 

I think were not in a position to define what should happen, but rather, we want to contribute on the new possibilities of the end-users use-cases for a world of AR, VR or MR, I should say. The good thing about those kind of things is that you want to participate by yourself, so we need to cross the border of reality into digital, and these kinds of features like 3D help you to do that. So that’s more of the philosophy, rather than trying to predict what will happen. Because we always need partners, and developing social network is not the main business of ours anyway, some other companies do a far better job. We need to provide the seed and the opportunity to create that.

jcrop-previewGoogle recently showcased ARCore for developers, and major competitors are taking steps in that space. How big would you say AR is in your scheme of things?

Let’s look at it this way.  Inside our company we don’t really mention strategy according to the so-called categorization in terms of AR or VR or anything like that. It’s more of a kind of afterthought.  Of course the technical C’s are there, but what we are looking at is tying those technical capabilities to a use-case scenario that is really fun, convenient or breathtaking to end-users or partners alike. So that’s the kind of way of thinking. In the process of talking about 3D as an example, we never spoke about HD or AR that’s not the case. So in a nutshell, we are not in a position to define, we merely ensure the capabilities that are relevant to the end user.  

Anil George
Avid follower of all things tech. In between his quest for the ultimate gizmo, Anil fiddles with light meters, collects rare books and feeds his fetish for Jap horror movies. As Managing Editor of T3 Middle East for the GCC, Anil oversees content direction across print and digital. He was a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Judge, reprising his role as an Innovation Awards Judge at CES 2015 and 2016. Reach him at: editor@t3me.com.
@anildotgeorge