Ina Fried

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Sony Aims to Remake Name for Itself in Phones

Sony on Sunday tried to make the case that it has a place in the crowded market for Android phones.

The announcement event is the first major product introduction for Sony since it took full control of the cellphone business that it had run jointly with Sweden’s Ericsson. That deal officially closed 10 days ago.

Appearing at the event, newly minted Sony CEO Kaz Hirai said that revitalizing the mobile business is a key part of his effort to turn around the company.

“We will revitalize our product portfolio,” Hirai said, adding that the company is hard at work to make its mobile products and user interface compelling, in addition to leveraging the company’s strengths in digital imaging and games.

Many of the company’s new phones will be able to play PlayStation games, following in the footsteps of the initial Xperia Play device, according to Sony Mobile Communications CEO Bert Nordberg.

Nordberg announced two new phones, the unibody aluminum Xperia P and the compact Xperia U. The two devices join the Xperia S, which has just started shipping. The Xperia P is also the first phone with a new WhiteMagic display technology, designed for better viewing in direct sunlight.

The Xperia P also features near field communications technology. Both the Xperia P and Xperia U will start shipping next quarter, Sony said.

The company also plans to bring its first Sony-branded phone, the Xperia Ion, to markets beyond the U.S.; Sony had already announced the device for AT&T at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Sony promised it will significantly up its marketing budget this year, including its largest ad campaign in some time.

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