When Vaio relaunched in July after being sold off by Sony earlier in 2014, the independent PC maker introduced two PCs that were just old Sony designs. Recently, Vaio unveiled the first PC designed under the new company—which also looks pretty much like a rehash of what’s come before.
At the Adobe Max conference in Los Angeles, Vaio unveiled a new tablet-laptop hybrid that it is currently calling the “monster tablet,” according to The Wall Street Journal. The device is just a prototype right now, but if it goes to production it would be released next spring, when Vaio plans to ship some other new products.
Why this matters: Although Vaio is currently aimed at serving only the Japanese market, the new company is still an interesting case to watch in this post-PC era. If an established company like HP is spinning off its PC business to survive on its own, can an upstart that only sells PCs succeed and perhaps expand into other markets? Or is Vaio doomed to consider selling Android tablets just to survive?
Same old, same old
The new Vaio device features a detachable keyboard that is strikingly similar in design to that of its Sony predecessor, the Vaio Tap 11. The tablet portion, however, appears to borrow more from Microsoft’s Surface than anything else.
Although just a prototype, Vaio has posted some specs for the device. The tablet offers a 12.3-inch display with 2560×1704 resolution, two USB 3.0 ports plus HDMI-out and Mini DisplayPort, a stylus, and an SDXC card slot. A quad-core Intel “Haswell” Core processor will provide the brains for the device, along with Intel’s Iris Pro graphics.
That seems nice enough, but given Sony’s 5-percent ownership of the new firm, Vaio appears to be borrowing more than just designs. The new Vaio detachable will reportedly sell for about $1,825. That’s a big price tag, and big prices are one major reason why Sony failed to survive in the PC market.
But Vaio is aiming this device at the pro market—specifically photographers, graphic artists and the like—where prices are already high. If the pro market in Japan responds to the new device, Vaio might be on to something.