Dazzling, high-resolution screens. Cameras capable of crisp stills and video. Zippy processors. Pleasing industrial design. Once upon a time, those were standout features that helped a smartphone rise above the crowd. Today, they’re merely a baseline. Phones have gotten so good that you can pretty much assume that every major smartphone will be an impressive piece of hardware.
That’s fabulous news for consumers, but it presents a challenge for phone makers. Especially phone makers that are underdogs in a market utterly dominated by Apple and Samsung.
Take, for instance, a certain underdog named Sony.
If you haven’t given much thought to its phones lately, you’ve got plenty of company. For years, Sony’s phone business was a joint venture with Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson, a sleepy outpost that didn’t even seem to be trying to keep up with ever-better handsets from other manufacturers. In early 2012, Sony reassumed full control of…
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