Under the auspices of its joint venture with Ericsson, Sony was the first company to bring an eight megapixel camera to market. And it was the first to attempt to bring console-quality gaming to smartphones with the Xperia Play handset that blended dedicated game controls with the Android operating system.
The company's flagship phones are now the well regarded, Android-powered Xperia range.
They're home to technological innovations from Sony's other product ranges, such as the Exmor R lenses, which are normally only found on dedicated digital cameras.
Bravia screen technology is also co-opted from Sony's high-end televisions, meanwhile, for Xperia phones' displays.
Some of the newest Sony Xperia smartphones are waterproof and feature 4K video recording and larger sensors for better photos.
In November 2011, Sony announced a split from its long-term partner Ericsson, ending a partnership that had spanned more than a decade and heralding a new approach towards the smartphone business from the Japanese part of the joint venture.
Before the companies separated, they had enjoyed success with the Walkman range throughout the 2000's that blurred the lines between dedicated personal music players and smartphones and introduced innovative features that created playlists to meet your mood and choose a track at random just by holding the phone and making a 'flicking' motion.
Sony Ericsson also scored with its Cybershot range of camera focussed phones that raised standards for photography on smartphones.
However, after years of using Nokia's Symbian operating system, towards the end of the decade Sony Ericsson launched its Xperia range. These are powered by Google's Android OS and feature Sony's Bravia TV technology and the same Exmor R lenses as Sony dedicated digital cameras.
Sony's newest Xperia flagship phones, the Xperia Z line, stand out for being waterproof and feature camera and video recording capabilities on a par with the company's dedicated digital cameras.
Latest Sony phones
Sony Xperia X
The Sony Xperia X was released in February 2016. It combines a fantastic camera with a sharp screen and a long battery life.
- Weight: 153g
- Screen: 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5 inches
- Storage: 32GB
- Battery: 2620 mAh
- Camera: 23-megapixel, with a 13-megapixel front-facing camera
Get the Sony Xperia X.
The Sony Xperia XA
The Sony Xperia XA launched in June 2016. Don’t be fooled by its compact size. It combines a crystal-clear display with a stunning camera and a fast processor.
- Weight: 137g
- Screen: 1280 x 720 pixels, 5 inches
- Storage: 16GB
- Battery: 2300 mAh
- Camera: 13-megapixel, with a 7-megapixel front-facing camera
Get the Sony Xperia XA.