CEO says Sony is on track for comeback
That product, as well as the 4K or "ultra-HD" TV, whose displays have four times the pixels of today's TVs, received mostly positive feedback at the recent International CES gadget show in Las Vegas.
But Hirai acknowledged it may take several years, or as long as a decade, for 4K technology to catch on. He noted Sony's advantage in running a movie studio to make sure Sony Pictures offers 4K.
Yasunori Tateishi, who has written a book on Sony's recent woes, said the same price plunges that plagued flat-panel TVs could hit 4K products, unless Sony can clearly demonstrate that it is offering a superior product.
"Sony needs to show that it is showcasing its unique imagery technology, not doing something everyone is doing," he said. "It needs to create new sectors in the electronics market. Otherwise, it's stuck fighting over the crumbs of the same pie."
Sony has been criticized for failing to take advantage of having both entertainment and electronics businesses. Still, Hirai was sticking to the old "synergy" strategy, while making changes such as revamping senior management and carving out alliances.
He pointed to Sony's investment in Japanese medical equipment maker Olympus Corp. and joint development with Panasonic Corp. in OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, displays as the kind of partnerships in the works.
"We need to be a lot faster in decision making. We need to be a lot faster in execution. We need to be passionate about our product," Hirai said. "Are we perfect? No. But I think we've improved significantly."
Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at www.twitter.com/yurikageyama
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