In pictures: Sony's new Vaio W netbook

Sony is the latest computer maker to enter the netbook market. Here's what you can expect from the new Vaio W netbook.

Sony's New Netbook



Sony today took the first step into the netbook market, introducing the Vaio W line of mini laptops.

Featuring a high-resolution 10.1-inch screen (1,366 by 768 pixels), Sony's new netbooks can fit more information on their displays than regular netbooks.

The Sony W measures 10.6 x 7-inch, is just over one inch thick (not including protrusion) and weighs just under 42 ounces.

Available in three colors (white, pink and brown for business users), the Vaio W comes with a processor running at 1.66 GHz, runs Windows XP, and has 1GB of RAM.

Sony is planning to use the higher resolution as one of the key differentiators between the Vaio W and other computers on the market. It will also promote the machine's touch panel, which is about the same size as that found on conventional laptops.

In Japan it will cost around US$630, which is roughly in line with netbooks from other Japanese vendors such as Toshiba and Fujitsu but more expensive than machines from foreign companies, such as Dell and Acer. It will go on sale in the U.K., France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and Russia from August, and be available via Sony's online shop. North American launch details have not yet been announced.

Sony's new netbook series will ease your pockets (or credit cards) of $500 when it goes on sale in August. Sony's Web site will be open for pre-orders later today.

The PC industry witnessed a record decline in the first quarter of this year as grim economic conditions caused many consumers and companies to postpone nonessential purchases. Global shipments fell by 8 percent against the same period of 2008, led by a sharp decline in demand for desktop PCs, according to iSuppli. The mobile segment saw 10 percent growth thanks largely to demand for netbook PCs.

Sony came close to launching a netbook earlier this year when it put the Vaio P on sale. The computer is smaller than many netbooks but runs Windows Vista on the more powerful of Intel's Atom processors. Sony was keen to distance the Vaio P and its higher price from the netbook market.

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