Sony Predicts Second Place Spot in Tablet Market, Despite No Launch at CES

By Susan J. Campbell January 07, 2011

An interesting announcement was shared by Sony at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week: while the consumer electronics company did not reveal a tablet at the show, company officials did say that the they plan to slide in behind Apple as the world’s second-largest maker of tablet devices by 2012.

Reuters reported on this announcement, adding that the PlayStation phone could also be a potential opportunity for the company.

Rumors have also been circulating that Sony SEO Howard Stringer is a candidate for chairmanship of the BBC. A media report last month indicated that he was approached for the post, yet Stringer has denied the rumors.

Sony has been considered a laggard in some areas of high-end consumer electronics and its entry into the tablet market could prove to be lucrative. The challenge is that a number of key players have already had a strong start, including Samsung with its Galaxy Tab and Research in Motion with its PlayBook.

Computer division head Kunimasa Suzuki is providing assurances that the company has ambitions to catch up quickly.

"For sure iPad is the king of tablets. But what is the second, what is the third? Who is taking the second position? That is our focus," Suzuki said in the Reuters report. "We would like to really take the number two position in a year.”

According to Stringer, Sony is biding its time and considering whether the tablet offering should have 3D capability. The company does want to differentiate from others, but still has to decide the best way to accomplish this.

Some investors seem to be disappointed that Sony did not unveil a tablet and some analysts believe it may be difficult for the company to achieve its goal of claiming the No. 2 slot in tablets by 2012.

T.I.W. senior analyst Takao Hattori told Reuters that many electronics makers have already unveiled their tablet devices and it will be extremely difficult to come up with products that are different from the others and also steal market share from the front runner, Apple. Hattori believes Sony will have to come up with features that are totally unexpected.

A number of media reports have focused on Stringer's career prospects. Analysts claim he should be credited for pushing through necessary job cuts and for trying to pull Sony’s diverse units together to leverage its unique combination of content and technology. He is expected to step down in 2013.


Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TechZone360 and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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