The Korea Herald


Sony bets big on headphone market


Published : Sept. 16, 2011 - 20:21

    • Link copied

TOKYO ― Sony Corp. on Thursday said it will be releasing in November a new range of headphones, predicting that sales will soar over the next few years on the back of the smartphone craze.

“With this tiny headphone driver, Sony will make a big splash this autumn,” said Katsuya Nakagawa, senior general manager and head of Sony’s Personal Entertainment Division at a press conference.

He told The Korea Herald that over the next two to three years, Sony plans to increase its headphone sales by 50 percent. Currently, headphone sales account for about one quarter of the company’s global sales.

The new headphone lineup ― called the XBA series ― is based on the Balanced Armature drivers, which Sony said makes the in-ear headphones more compact in size and lightweight.

But the trimmer size does not mean sound quality has been compromised.

Far from it, Nakagawa said, as the XBA headphones boast higher resolution, higher sensitivity and sound isolation.

“We have reduced noise penetration by 75 percent so you immerse yourself in the music,” Nakagawa said.

The sealed housing is the key to reducing ambient noise, made possible by the BA drivers. This technology also adds to comfort, as the earphones fit more snugly, Sony said.

Some of the models, such as the XBA-S65, were custom-made for the sportier clientele. The headphones are washable and water-proof, features that were made possible with a waterproof film coating.

This marked the first time that Sony developed the BA driver.

“We would like to offer new sound, a new experience,” Nakagawa said.

Sony currently has a 20 percent market share in Asia Pacific.

The Japanese company believes more growth and sales can be derived from headphones on the back of the growing demand for smartphones.

Sony predicted that the headphone market will grow to about 200 million units of headphones next year, up 10 percent from this year.

By Kim Ji-hyun, Korea Herald correspondent