Sony-less Vaio PCs returning to the U.S. this fall

The VAIO brand is coming to America (again) and it's as expensive as it's always been.


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It looks like the Vaio brand really was just resting.

After Sony sold the Vaio brand to a private group in early 2014, the expectation was that we wouldn’t see Vaio PCs outside of Japan anytime soon. On Wednesday, however, the Vaio Corporation announced its PCs would come to the United States this fall.

To start, Vaio will introduce one model in the U.S., the Vaio Z Canvas a tablet hybrid with a detachable keyboard. The device (as it’s sold in Japan) features a quad-core 2.2GHz Core i7-4770HQ processor, Iris Pro 5200 graphics, 16GB of RAM, a 12.3-inch display with 2560-by-1704 resolution, and up to 1TB of SSD storage. Of course, there's also the usual SD card slot, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and front- and rear-facing cameras. The current Japanese model is loaded with Windows 8.1; it’s not clear if that will change to Windows 10 for the U..S. launch.

American audiences got their first look at the Z Canvas last October when it was just an unnamed prototype on display at the Adobe Max conference in Los Angeles.

Vaio’s stateside efforts will be very tepid at first. Starting October 5, the Z Canvas will be available for sale on Vaio’s own site as well as the Microsoft Store’s site and retail locations.

Just like the Vaio PCs of yore this will be one pricey hybrid, starting at $2,200 MSRP. As this is designed to be a high-end device for creative types, the price is about where you’d expect it to be. Pre-orders for the hybrid will begin in mid-September.

The story behind the story: Vaio’s reintroduction to the United States comes just 15 months after the Vaio brand relaunched in Japan under new leadership. To move so quickly into the United States, as well as Brazil, shows the company may be doing well or at least confident of its prospects. But to have any real success in the U.S. it will have to offer more than just the Z Canvas, and something at a cheaper device. Even if Vaio wants to position itself as a high-end brand, it won’t get much play in the U.S. without at least one device that comes closer to $1,000. The top Surface Pro 3 model, for example, costs about $1,530 with Type Cover.

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