joint venture with Ericsson (i.e. the Arc), but for the most part it has struggled since its inception in 2001 to run with the alpha dogs. The Japanese manufacturer's new strategy involves buying out Ericsson's stake in the company and having its tablet, smartphone and handheld gaming units work closely together to develop future products. According to the Wall Street Journal, a deal for the Stockholm company's half of the venture is nearing completion. Some difficulties remain, such as properly valuing the company and settling on a price for Ericsson's roughly $1.3 to $1.7 billion worth of mobile technology patents, but a deal is expected to be reached sooner rather than later. And maybe, just maybe, the new found flexibility will allow Sony handsets to keep pace with the Samsungs and Apples of the world.