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Sony Finally Caves, Launches Netbook

In January, Sir Howard Stringer showed off the company's Vaio P-Series Lifestyle PC. It wasn't a netbook, except it kind of was. In response to all the, "why would Sony launch a $900 netbook and refuse to call it a netbook?" press, the company said it would not be releasing a netbook because the whole netbook market was “a race to the bottom.”

So completely ignoring all of that, Sony has introduced the Vaio W-Series, a $500, 10 inch netbook based on Intel's Atom. A 1.6 GHz CPU, 1,366 x 768 display, 160 GB HDD, 1 GB of RAM, 2 x USB 2.0, Ethernet, Bluetooth, 802.11a/b/g, an SD reader, as well as support for Sony's own Memory Stick Duo, Windows XP Home, VGA out, and a webcam.

Expected availability is set for about August and customers will have a choice of white, brown or pink. For those of you interested in how the Vaio W measures up to the Vaio P, check the table below. Bear in mind we don't have an official specs sheet for the W-Series (the press release was pretty skimpy on details) so we're just filling in parts we do know.

[UPDATE] Updated to include official specs from Sony spec sheet.

Sony Vaio P-SeriesSony Vaio W-Series
Display8 inch, 1600 x 768, LED backlit10.1 inch, 1,366 x 768, LED backlit
CPUIntel Atom 1.86 GHzIntel Atom 1.66 GHz
RAM2 GB of DDR21 GB DDR2
StorageUp to 256 GB SSD160 GB HDD
Expansion slotsMemory Stick PRO (Standard/Duo) media slot with MagicGate functionality, SD memory card slotMemory Stick PRO (Standard/Duo) media slot with MagicGate functionality, SD memory card slot
Connectivity802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth,Verizon Wireless Mobile Broadband Built-In802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth
PortsAudio out, 2 x USB 2.0, Display/LAN adapter portAudio out, 2 x USB 2.0, VGA, Ethernet
OSWindows Vista Home Premium (32 bit)Windows XP Home Edition (32 bit)
  • scook9
    well if it is ION and 50 cheaper, I'd consider that the netbook that I would buy if it gets a 3rd USB and wireless n and a webcam.

    So I guess Sony actually still has a ways to go.
    Reply
  • dark_lord69
    All netbooks are crap.
    This one would be decent if it was the ION platform...
    BUT if you are going to spend that much you might as well buy a full size, faster, and all around better laptop.

    You can get a nice laptop for $600-$700 with a MUCH better cpu, more memory and a bigger screen.

    Don't waste your money on a stupid trend.
    These crappy low powered overpriced "NetBooks" are exactly why Sony said: 'the whole netbook market was “a race to the bottom.”'
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    Why the downgrade on CPU and RAM?

    And why no black/red?
    Reply
  • Master Exon
    Kind pointless. It is a $175~ premium for nothing more than the word Sony and a 720p screen.
    Reply
  • warezme
    will apple be far behind?
    Reply
  • GrowingTuna
    dark_lord69All netbooks are crap.This one would be decent if it was the ION platform...BUT if you are going to spend that much you might as well buy a full size, faster, and all around better laptop. You can get a nice laptop for $600-$700 with a MUCH better cpu, more memory and a bigger screen.Don't waste your money on a stupid trend.These crappy low powered overpriced "NetBooks" are exactly why Sony said: 'the whole netbook market was “a race to the bottom.”'
    You're completely missing the point of a netbook. The point of netbooks is to be small and portable. With that logic, why would anyone choose a notebook over a portable desktop, or a portable desktop over a full-fledged atx machine? They all serve their own purpose for users with different needs.

    That said, Sony is completely missing their point. As mentioned in the article, they had a "netbook" out(I saw it advertised as one in stores) for ~$900 that ran windows vista on an intel atom platform. The screen was better than other netbooks i've seen, but the performance was so underwhelming that it rendered the machine nearly unusable for my tastes.

    Anyway, this new netbook looks like a decent attempt in my eyes, although the price point seems a little high. The resolution of the screen is better than most bargain-level laptops, however, so if someone needs a portable laptop for basic needs but feels limited by the screen real estate offered by current netbooks, I could see this netbook being a model to consider.
    Reply
  • P_haze420
    Sony is been going downhill since PS3 came out and will continue to do so.
    Reply
  • doc70
    Sony has been dead for me since the DRM stuff; they have half-decent hardware, but that's not enough. As for the netbook in question, they can call it whatever they're comfortable with, it's still underpowered and pricey. I would not pay more than 150 USD for what tends to become a MID...
    Reply
  • fulle
    If someone has 900 bucks to blow on a complete piece of crap like this, they should have an extra 300 dollars or so to put into a LEGITIMATE ultra-portable laptop like a Samsung X460. By the time a netbook is improved enough to resemble a useful machine, it gets too close to the price range, size, and battery life of a 14" lightweight, only with 1/3rd the performance.

    Personally, I use netbooks as another indicator someone's a complete moron. Kinda like watching for Kottonmouth King stickers on someone's car, or straight guys with "Toss the salad" shirts. If people understood what a netbook was, they wouldn't buy one.
    Reply
  • stradric
    p_haze420Sony is been going downhill since PS3 came out and will continue to do so.I'm not sure what you mean by that. The PS3 is a fine machine. It may not be selling as well as they'd hoped, but the freakin PS2 is still selling like a champ. Combine that with the PSP, the rip-off PSP Go and the upcoming PSP2, I'd say they're doing quite well. Plus they won the whole stupid HD format war.

    The PS3 game lineup is definitely improving as well. And you can't deny that the PS3 is a well-built machine.

    So, I don't know what you mean. And with all that being said, I don't own a PS3, a PS2 or a PSP. I'm a big time 360 fan. Xbox Live, Halo, Gears of War, Fable and Mass Effect are what make the 360 the superior system IMHO. But you can't deny that the 360 is a poorly-built machine. 4/5 of my friends, plus myself have had RRoD on their 360s -- some multiple times. So, in the end, the poor build quality of the 360 may be Microsoft's undoing and Sony's opportunity to eventually claim the majority of the market share. It remains to be seen.
    Reply