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Sony Outsourcing Vaio Laptop Design to Others

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 11 comments

Sony's letting other companies make laptops in the Vaio name. What do you think this will do to the prestige of the Sony line?

As far as Windows-based laptops go, Sony makes some of the most stylish and expensive ones. Now Sony is planning on launching a secondary laptop division that will bear the Vaio name, but won't be designed in-house.

Deputy president of Sony Vaio’s Business Group Ryosuke Akahane told PC Pro that it will have a "division one" and a "division two" for its laptop products. Division one will remain in-house and will get the latest in technology, while division two will get the innovations later as they trickle down.

Akahane insists that division two products will still have the same "taste of Vaio, the style of Vaio," despite not being made by the Vaio team. Still, Sony will approve all third party designs and keep the same quality standards.

"The quality criteria itself is no different between division number one and division number two," he said. "We will include new technology [such as the latest processors] in division number one first, and then we can learn and we can get the know-how, then we can transfer [the technology] to the products coming from division two."

So will Sony be making a new sub-brand for consumers to differentiate which laptops are designed by which division? Akahane answered, "No. We had a discussion for that, but the conclusion is no. Making a new brand is an investment, it’s not efficient, and also for the customer we wanted to enhance the identity of VAIO more and more and for that having a different brand is not good."

Akahane adds that Sony hopes to better compete with HP and Apple with this new strategy.

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  • -2 Hide
    cabose369 , April 16, 2010 11:00 PM
    Ok so I still don't understand what this means....

    Does this mean that other factories that aren't owned by Sony in China will manufacturer them (ex. HP, Acer, Asus, Toshiba, etc.)?

    Or does this mean that say HP or Asus will make them for sony?

    Or does this mean that they are having a sub-brand that will compete against Compaq, Gateway/EMachines, etc.?

    If it is option 3 then the title is very misleading!
  • -4 Hide
    gekko668 , April 16, 2010 11:06 PM
    If Sony wants to directly competes with HP, Dell then Sony should make it cheaper and not more expensive. I have always enjoy sony laptop but I'm probably not going to purchase my next laptop with sony anymore.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 17, 2010 12:10 AM
    it means that sony will make a cheaper second division laptops, with the same brand vaio, so it can compete with the low cost laptops

    well thats is what i think
  • Display all 11 comments.
  • 6 Hide
    killerclick , April 17, 2010 1:53 AM
    cabose369Does this mean that other factories that aren't owned by Sony in China will manufacturer them (ex. HP, Acer, Asus, Toshiba, etc.)?

    Actually, Quanta Computer Inc. from Taiwan already manufactures laptops for many big names including Apple, Acer, Alienware, Toshiba, HP, Sony, Dell, Fujitsu and others.

    This scheme by Sony is to let people believe they're buying top-of-the-line (Vaio name) when in fact they're buying an entry-level or budget machine. And most buyers will see a Sony Vaio for $500 and think that it's a great deal when in fact it'll be no better than budget machines from Asus or Acer.
  • -2 Hide
    anamaniac , April 17, 2010 6:30 AM
    I do like some of the VAIO laptops, but I've spent enough in my desktop already, thank you. :D 
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 18, 2010 7:30 AM
    Well it's good that I read this. At least now I can make future recommendations to all of my good friends that are vaio enthusiasts... Perhaps they'll reconsider after this debacle. Also I'm not too fond of things being outsourced to extremely poor third world countries- which always leads to exploiting human-beings.
  • 2 Hide
    mycpumelted , April 18, 2010 9:25 PM
    __-_-_-__the only part of a sony notebook that was made by sony was the design and the lcd. not even that anymore.

    I find it really interesting that the blu-ray drive in some Vaio notebooks are made by Samsung.
  • 2 Hide
    leon2006 , April 19, 2010 6:00 AM
    vaio -> Expensive and Fragile PC
  • 0 Hide
    foxalopex , April 19, 2010 2:38 PM
    Uh oh... I hope this doesn't affect quality too much. IBM outsourced out to China years ago and became Lenovo. While the built is still mostly there the quality's been gradually getting worse I think for ThinkPads. Sony (at least for their high end Z laptops) mostly assembles the Canadian sold ones in the US and Japan which might account for it's high cost and quality. I think a lot of folks assume Sony is expensive for no reason at all but from what I've seen some of their technology is impressive and far ahead of others. Sadly, most folks prefer cheap as dirt and made just as poorly. After all why else is Wal-Mart doing so well?
  • 0 Hide
    warezme , April 19, 2010 3:50 PM
    The Vaio brand used to mean something. I had to recover files off a failed new Vaio laptop and needed to remove the HD to slave it up to transfer the files. First, the HD is not really user removable as the entire bottom shell of the laptop has to be removed (many screws) and once removed the quality or lack of quality in the design and parts inside is apparent. So now you have the Sony tax on a Vaio name that doesn't mean anything. Dell quality is so much better now when compared.
  • 0 Hide
    RazberyBandit , April 19, 2010 4:38 PM
    leon2006vaio -> Expensive and Fragile PC

    Apparently, not anymore...