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Sony Debuts Vaio AW For Photographers, Media Hobbyists

San Diego — Sony unveiled a new Vaio AW series notebook, which Sony said is targeted at media enthusiasts and photographers who require the capability to view and edit high-definition content on the go.

“This new notebook delivers the power of a high-end desktop in a portable form factor,” said Mike Abrary, Vaio product marketing senior VP at Sony Electronics. “Whether you’re gaming, watching a Blu-ray Disc movie or editing high-def video, it offers all the HD tools you’ll need.”

The notebook weighs around 8 pounds and features an 18.4-inch LCD display, which the company said is ideal for viewing HD content as most high-definition films are shot using a 16:9 aspect ratio and the notebooks screen was constructed with the same dimensions. According to Sony, this will allows for the elimination of the black bars that often appear on screen when watching HD content.

The extra space is also said to allow a user to view two Web sites or documents side by side so they won’t have to tab back and forth between the two.

Customers will have the option of adding Sony’s proprietary XBRITE-FullHD LCD technology to their package as well; it is said to help the notebook “deliver vibrant colors in stunning 1080p clarity.”

Photo enthusiasts will have the option of purchasing a model with an Adobe RGB color compatible LCD screen that will display all colors in the RGB color space, allowing the user to view true onscreen reproductions of digital photos that are identical to how the photo would look in print. (Sony also made a move to target prosumer photographers yesterday with the introduction of its first digital SLR with a full-frame image sensor.)

The device comes standard with a Blu-ray Disc optical playback drive. Select units can also record, store and play back personal content on BD media.

Other standard elements include an HDMI output, a built-in CompactFlash slot for transferring photos from a digital camera, and pre-installed Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software.

The Intel-Centrino 2-based device offers up to 1TB of storage and will come pre-installed with a choice of Windows Vista Home Premium, Vista Business or Vista Ultimate Operating Systems.

Select models feature 64GB solid-state drives with RAID technology, said to provide faster boot-up times and application launches.

The AW will be available in titanium gray and a glossy piano black finish. The notebooks will retail later this month with standard models starting at a suggested $1,600 and a premium version starting at about $2,000.