With Sony purchasing what’s left of Sony Ericsson back in October, keen observers knew that Ericsson’s days as an official brand partner were numbered. According to an interview with the Times of India, that transition will be happening sooner rather than later, with Sony Ericsson-branded phones being transitioned out by the middle of 2012. The phones that are produced post-integration will simply feature the “Sony” label.
More interesting is the fact that the company plans to only manufacture smartphones, leaving the thinner margins and shrinking market of feature phones behind. Since Sony Ericsson now uses Android exclusively and is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future, that’ll make them an important contributor to the Android ecosystem, especially in Europe and Asia. ” A lot of planning goes into getting the branding right but we will be done by middle of next year. It will also mean that the marketing and advertising investments will go up,” said Sony executive Kristian Tear. After rumors of a Sony Windows Phone 7 device earlier this year, a Sony CEO said that WP7 wasn’t as good as Android, and didn’t factor into the company’s immediate plans.
Now that Sony’s mobile future is dependent upon Android, you can expect the company to expand its already aggressive production and marketing. That should manifest in at least three primary product lines: the core XPERIA phones, PlayStation-enhanced products like the XPERIA Play, and possibly a more media-focused line centering around the Walkman branding. We’ll likely see the first fruits of any new initiatives at Mobile World Congress in February.