Sony Outsourcing Vaio Laptop Design to Others

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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • cabose369
    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!
  • gekko668
    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.
  • 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
  • killerclick
    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.
  • anamaniac
    I do like some of the VAIO laptops, but I've spent enough in my desktop already, thank you. :D
  • 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.
  • mycpumelted
    __-_-_-__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.
  • leon2006
    vaio -> Expensive and Fragile PC
  • foxalopex
    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?
  • warezme
    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.