Sony to launch Android-based small screen TVs

TOI
Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sony India will roll out smaller-screen size televisions that run on Google's Android operating system to lower prices and drive the adoption of smart TVs — a category that's received a lukewarm response in the country.

The company is working with its Japanese headquarters to develop a 32-inch screen for its Android televisions. It currently offers 43-inch models that start at Rs 66,900. Sony said 32-inch televisions still account for 45-50% of sales. Android's presence in this segment is vital to win market share and success, said Sony India head sales Satish Padmanabhan.

The move comes as Sony plans to start the second phase of its India manufacturing operations next quarter, which will allow new models to be added to its portfolio, more localization of features and faster replenishment of the supply chain.

At present, it offers two 43-inch Android television models in India that are contract-manufactured at Foxconn's plant near Chennai. The television and smartphone businesses contributed about 40% each to Sony India's Rs 10,600 crore revenue in 2014-15. India sold some 1 crore flat panel television sets last year, of which smart and internet-enabled TVs were less than 10% of the total by volume, according to industry estimates. Currently, all bigger screen models — 50 inches and more — are either smart televisions or internet-enabled sets.

The top three television makers — LG, Samsung and Sony — have been trying to push sales by rolling out internet features in the 40-inch segment. However, cautious consumers have cut discretionary spending and poor experiences have limited the adoption of such televisions in India.

Sony expects that rolling out smaller-screen sizes of Android televisions will lower prices and is betting on superior user experience of the operating system.

"We are seeing good demand for Android televisions even in the smaller towns. Even if smart televisions grow up to 15% of industry volume in 12-18 months, that's a commendable achievement," said Padmanabhan.


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