Sony Ericsson launches new Xperia in SA
Johannesburg - Sony Ericsson has launched the Xperia Arc and Neo in SA in a bid to shake up the smartphone market.
The Android device represents the firms attempt to blend functionality with ease of use and also features Google Maps Navigation which was also launched on Tuesday.
"For us it is really important to partner up with Google for the launch of Navigation here in South Africa," Patricia Wand, head of marketing MU Africa, told News24.
She said that SA was one of the most important markets for the company.
The Android platform has been growing exponentially and while many different manufacturers use the operating system on mobile devices, Sony Ericsson said that the new Xperia range had some extra features that differentiated the device.
"We see the Android operating system as bring us to the race; we have to have it to play in the race," said Colin Williamson, marketing manager for Sony Ericsson South Africa.
Entertainment is key for the smartphone which was released internationally in March 2011.
"The whole thing behind our Xperia brand is that we want them to be the most entertaining smartphones," said Williamson.
He said that the device was different in that they could draw on the Sony technology and design.
"We feel that we need to differentiate ourselves in the market.
"The way we are going to differentiate ourselves is with what I call our 'Sony-ness'. Sony has a huge amount of mobile assets that we can bring into our mobile phone," Williamson said.
The device offers a range of features including the Bravia engine that drives Sony TVs and HD video recording with an 8-megapixel camera.
"We put our own user experience on top of the Android operating system so there is certainly a lot of Sony Ericsson differentiation there as well," said Williamson.
The company is not hiding its desire to be on top of the pile in the mobile market.
"Our ambition as Sony Ericsson is to be number one in Android," said Wand.
She conceded that that the company had fallen behind, but added that the new range of devices would make an impact into the smartphone market.
"Currently in South Africa we know we have fallen behind a little, behind Samsung and HTC. We have now had delays in some products but with the new range you will see we are quite confident," said Wand.
The launch of the device would also include an ecosystem of accessories, the company said. Potentially, this could dramatically increase sales numbers as fans customised their device experience.
"This year we're going to put a lot of emphasis on our extras. There's a huge raft of accessories that we're going to be bringing into South Africa," said Williamson.
The Xperia Arc is available on contract from Vodacom at R249 and R319 per month from MTN, while the Neo retails for R179 per month from Vodacom.
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