Sony Corp. expects new 3-D compatible televisions will account for up to half the TVs it sells in roughly three years, as it outlined details of its effort to prop up its slumping electronics business.
Hiroshi Yoshioka, Sony’s executive deputy president and the head of its consumer products and devices group, also said the company is holding talks with several auto makers to enter into the promising but crowded market for lithium-ion car batteries. He didn’t name the auto makers. Most of a $1 billion investment in battery technology over the next few years will go toward car battery development, he said, adding that Sony has also increased staffing in that area.
A Sony Corp. 3-D television and videogame demonstration in October. The details offered Thursday help flesh out a broad strategic vision the Japanese company offered last week, when Sony outlined plans to rely heavily on 3-D technology and online content to reach an operating profit margin of 5% in the fiscal year ending in March 2013. Sony has already said it targets revenue of more than one trillion yen (about $11.4 billion) from 3-D related products, including televisions, disk players and game consoles, in that fiscal year.
The company plans to introduce a 3-D compatible television next year, and Mr. Yoshioka said Thursday those types of sets will account for between 30% and 50% of all televisions sold by the fiscal year ending in 2013. The technology lets viewers choose to watch in the current two-dimensional mode or three dimensions on their TVs while wearing special glasses. Journal Communitydiscuss“ As long as the “wearing special glasses” is there, I won’t be. If we are going to do it, let’s do it right, not through half-steps of obsolescence based “technology”. ” —Mark Bazemore Sales results will depend on available 3-D content, Mr. Yoshioka said, adding that he sees strong potential in videogames.
Sony said 3-D television models will be priced at a premium, but it says the glasses required for viewing would be the most costly part for Sony, not the actual production of the television. In batteries, Sony plans to play up the products’ safety. Mr. Yoshioka said the batteries that the company developed after its battery problems of the past enabled Sony to create a safer product. Sony and a number of other companies were plagued in recent year by instances of batteries in consumer products like notebook computer catching fire. Sony believes the market for batteries is big and promising enough for it to enter, even if it is currently lagging other manufacturers. “We have lots of room,” said Mr. Yoshioka. Sony says it currently has about 2,000 employees working in the battery business, but plans to increase that figure. Under Chief Executive Howard Stringer, Sony is moving to shake up a company plagued by shortcoming in the content and software side of the business and high costs on its manufacturing side. It has forecast an operating loss of 60 billion yen (about $684 million) for the current fiscal year, but Mr. Stringer said the company is striving to break even through cost cuts and other initiatives.