Sony's ultra-slim laptop surfaces in Berlin

Will Sony end up delivering nothing more than an over-priced Atom-based laptop?

Sony's Ultra-Slim Laptop Surfaces in BerlinSony was showing off its latest lightweight, ultra-slim laptop earlier this week at the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin. The Sony Vaio X is being billed as the successor to Sony's 2004 Vaio X505--a forward thinking laptop that was thinner than the MacBook Air. Sony says nothing is set in stone as far as specs are concerned, according to Engadget, but here's what I was able to cobble together based on a variety of reports:

* Weight: 680g

* Thickness: 13mm

* Screen: 11.1in backlit LCD screen in either matte or glossy display

* Processor: Intel Atom (could change to CULV)

* Storage: 120 GB hard disk drive (HDD), according to Sony Insider

* Memory: 2 GB RAM

* Ports: 2 x USB; Ethernet; SD card reader; Memory Stick Duo slot; VGA output; headphone

* Battery: 31Wh battery that "will set the new standard for stamina."

* Body material: Carbon Fiber

* Operating System: likely Windows 7

* Cost: rumored to be under $2000, according to Slash Gear

* Availability: likely the week following the October 22 launch of Windows 7.

Since there's no official word about this laptop yet, the above specs should be treated as rumor until we have a finalised device from Sony. The look of the Vaio X is very nice, but Sony may end up delivering nothing more than an over-priced Atom-based laptop. Atom processors are typically found in low-powered netbooks, like Sony's Vaio W series, which sells in the US$500 range. With Sony talking about a price tag under US$2000 for the X series, this ultra-slim laptop may not come cheap.

A high price tag won't help against the competition either, since the X Series looks poised to compete against devices like the MacBook Air. Apple's ultra-slim laptop has two models that sell between US$1500-1800; however, the Air sports a faster Intel Core 2 Duo processor as opposed to the X's current Atom CPU. If Sony really wants to compete against the Air it looks to me like they have two choices: price this device below $1000 or bump up the processor specs.

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Ian Paul

PC World (US online)

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