With Sony (SNE +1%) TV sales remaining soft and its smartphone ops facing tough price competition from Chinese Android vendors, CEO Kazuo Hirai has decided to take direct responsibility for the electronics giant's product development/strategy.
Officially, Hirai has been named Sony's Officer in charge of UX (user experience), Product Strategy, Sales & Marketing Platform. Four existing Sony departments - its business development division, UX/product strategy group, brand strategy department, and sales/marketing group - will be transferred to Hirai's unit.
Separately, Reuters reports Sprint and parent SoftBank (Japan's #2 carrier) both plan to sell Sony's next-gen Android flagship, the Xperia Z3. Neither company has sold a Sony smartphone to date. Sony has a solid presence in the Japanese smartphone market, but has struggled to make headway in the U.S., where Apple and Samsung dominate the high-end.