Sony Vaio Desktop, Notebook Computers Debut

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Sony unveiled a slew of new desktop and notebook computers last week that will make their public debut at PC Expo in New York City next month.

The company continued its emphasis on convergence by incorporating i-LINK, Sony's name for IEEE 1394 FireWire, video and image editing software in many products. Sony will back these introductions and the company's convergence initiatives with a television and print advertising campaign that stresses applications and not product performance, said Dick Komiyama, president of Sony Electronics Information Technologies Marketing Division.

Missing from Sony's product lineup was the 200MB HiFD mega floppy diskette drive. The company is in the process of working the bugs out of the drive, which was pulled from store shelves in January, said Dirk Peters, general manager of Sony's value-added products line. The product is now going through compatibility testing and is scheduled to re-ship this fall.

However, Peters' confirmed that Sony will begin shipping its first DVD+RW drive in the near future. Pricing and an exact ship date were not available at press time.

The Vaio Digital Studio desktop line will include three new SKUs with estimated street prices between $2,199 and $1,099. The high-end model features an Intel Pentium III 500MHz processor, CD-RW and 6x DVD-ROM drives. The midrange model steps down to a Pentium III 450MHz processor and drops the CD-RW drive, while the entry-level Vaio uses a Celeron 450MHz process and 32x CD-ROM drive.

Sony's desk-space-saving Vaio SlimTop line was also expanded with the addition of the PCV-L600S. The SlimTop models utilize a small computer tower, an LCD screen instead of a full-size CRT monitor, and notebook computer components to create a desktop that is 70% smaller than standard models.

The L600S sports a Pentium III 500MHz processor, 10.8GB hard drive, 128MB of RAM, 24x CD-ROM, 4MB of SGRAM, and an ATI Rage LT Pro graphics card. The new model started to ship this month with an estimated street price of $2,199.

Three new SuperSlim notebooks models are on tap for release in June. The Z505SX SuperSlim Pro and Z505s SuperSlim Pro feature, respectively, Intel Pentium II 366MHz and Celeron 333MHz processors, 128MB of RAM and 64MB of RAM. Both models come with a 12.1-inch LCD screen, 6.4GB hard drive, USB ports and Memory Stick capability. Estimated street prices are $2,999 for the Z505SX and $2,499 for the Z505S.

The 505TR SuperSlim, estimated street price $1,999, uses an Intel Pentium 300MHz with MMX technology, 10.4-inch screen, 6.4GB hard drive, and 64MB of SDRAM.

Sony's full-size notebook line also received a face-lift with four new models. All include Sony's i-LINK, 256-bit graphics chip and 56K V.90 modem.

The entry-level PCG-F250, estimated street price $1,699, features an Intel Celeron 366MHz processor, 13-inch LCD, 32MB of RAM, and 4.3GB hard drive.

The PCG-F270, estimated street price $2,399, steps up to a 14.1-inch active-matrix LCD, Pentium II 333MHz processor, 64MB of SDRAM, 6.4GB hard drive, 4x DVD-ROM drive with movie playback capability and is bundled with image capture and editing software.

The PCG-F280 adds a Pentium II 366MHz processor with a $2,799 estimated street price. All three ship in June.

The flagship PCG-F290 adds a 15-inch LCD and Pentium II 400MHz processor. Pricing has not been set, but the notebook will ship in July.


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