9m Xperias sold, but underlying problems remain.
The world's sixth biggest handset maker is back in the black, with income before taxes at 189m euros for the full year 2010, compared with an 878m euro loss in 2009.
A focus on higher-end smartphones (mostly Android) and an improved cost structure helped deliver the turnaround, as shown in the fact that turnover actually fell by seven per cent to 6,294m euros.
Global workforce was cut by approximately 4,000 people, and operating expenses fell by more than 880m euros.
However, units shipped in 4Q were 11.2 million, down 23 per cent, which despite the higher unit margin must still be disappointing for a firm that was so successful in the early noughties. It actually shipped 14m fewer for 2010 than 2009.
Sony Ericsson estimates its market share for the fourth quarter at around three per cent in units. It nudged ten per cent during the glory years of Walkman and Cyber-shot.
Despite this Bert Nordberg, CEO of Sony Ericsson, believes the signs are good. He said: “2010 was a turnaround year for Sony Ericsson. Our four consecutive quarters of profit reflect the success of our shift towards an Android-based smartphone portfolio.
"We will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the creation of Sony Ericsson in 2011, and as shown by the recently announced Xperia arc, we will continue to focus on delivering the most entertaining smartphones worldwide.”