Report: Sony Planning Vaio Hybrid PC


Sony is rumoured to be cooking up a two-part Vaio PC to compete with Apple’s MacBook Air

Sony may be working on a lightweight Vaio Hybrid PC that can compete with Apple’s skinny-minny MacBook Air.

According to Sony Insider, the company is cooking up a notebook that “consists of two components” and includes the Intel Thunderbolt technology – previously code-named “Light Peak” – that debuted in February on the new Apple MacBook Pro notebooks, the somewhat heftier cousins of the MacBook Air. An I/O technology based on PCI Express and Displayport, Thunderbolt was designed as a way of more simply connecting a PC to peripherals and more quickly transferring data. According to Apple, it’s “12 times faster than FireWire 800 and up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0”.

Video transfer

Intel, in a 24 February press release coinciding with the MacBook Pro’s release, described Thunderbolt’s speeds as enabling users to transfer a full-length high-definition movie in less than 30 seconds or “back up one year of continuous MP3 playback in just over 10 minutes”.

As for Sony’s two-part Vaio, the notebook part of it, reports Sony Insider, includes an Intel Wireless Display, a solid-state drive, an i7 processor, HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) output with support for 3D, battery life of 8 to 16-plus hours, and a total weight of approximately 2.5 pounds. (The MacBook Air weighs 2.3 pounds.)

The “second component”, says the site, which is “what will be unique to this Vaio when connected”, includes a discrete AMD Whistler GPU with 1GB of VRAM; a Blu-Ray disc drive, HDMI output, VGA output, an Ethernet port, a USB port and a weight of approximately 1.5 pounds.

“Overall, the notebook looks pleasing to the eyes, aesthetically designed in its VAIO fashion; however, we are not quite sure about the purpose of the second component,” states the site. “It again reminds me of a desktop model Sony marketed back in 2007 – VAIO RM series that featured a twin-unit form factor.”

Thunderbolt technology

Exactly what Sony has planned is unclear. What is known, however, is that whatever this device is, it’ll hardly be alone in featuring Thunderbolt. According to Intel, a number of manufacturers producing computers, displays, storage devices, cameras, docking stations and more have announced plans to include the technology in upcoming products.

On 10 March, camera maker Canon joined them, announcing in a statement, “We are excited about Thunderbolt technology and feel it will bring new levels of performance and simplicity to the video creation market.”

The Sony Insider report added that Sony is also working on a Vaio notebook running Google’s Chrome OS. It’s expected to feature an 11.6-inch display, a Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, 1GB of memory, a 16GB electronic multimedia card (eMMC), an ultra-low-power GeForce GPU, wireless LAN support, quick booting and 8 hours of battery life. Another lightweight, it’s rumored to weigh in at 2.2 pounds.

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