Can Sony and LL Cool J Compete with Apple?
The Japanese tech giant is attempting to one-up Apple -- again -- with a new line of Vaio laptops. But is it enough to save the company from certain doom?
Probably not. While a comeback is always a possibility, Sony (NYSE: SNE) continues to go down a path of endless destruction. This morning Bloomberg reported that for the first time since 1980, the ailing electronics manufacturer closed below 1,000 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
But Sony is pushing ahead with new product announcements, hoping (wishing?) that it can dig itself out of this massive hole.
"Thin and light is nothing new to Sony – we built the T Series Ultrabook from many of the same features as our amazingly thin and powerful ultra-premium VAIO Z Series, which has long exceeded Ultrabook specifications," Mike Abary, SVP of Networked Technology and Services Division of Sony Electronics, said in a company release. "Our entire new VAIO portfolio incorporates the best technology from our innovative digital imaging, sound and TV divisions and unique features across all the models such as backlit keyboard and Sony's Rapid Wake technology. The new VAIO family continues Sony's efforts to offer advanced performance and design that fit all business and personal lifestyles."
Sony is promoting its new laptops under different categories, including the "Ultimate Travel Companion," which includes the Vaio T Series Ultrabook. This 13.3-inch Ultrabook comes packaged an Ultra Low Voltage Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) Core processor, an optional solid state drive or hybrid drive, two USB ports, a port for HDMI out, one for VGA, yet another for Ethernet, and a card reader for Sony's own Memory Sticks, and another for the hugely popular SD cards. The T Series starts at $799.99.
The "Diamond Edge Excellence" collection includes the Vaio E Series, which Sony claims is "ideal for students and everyday users." This series comes in three varieties: 11.6-inch, 14-inch, and 15.5-inch. The latter two models feature backlit keyboards. Those who select the smaller, 11.6-inch variation will get an AMD processor, while buyers of the 14-inch edition get a second-generation Intel Core processor. Sony said that the 15.5-inch model is "available with a variety of second and third generation Intel Core processors." The E Series, which includes a special LL Cool J-inspired bundle, ranges from $449.99 to $899.99.
Sony is also continuing with its high-end S Series, which is "crafted in tough, weight-saving magnesium, aluminum and carbon fiber materials," and comes in two flavors: 13.3-inch and 15.5-inch. With up to 2GB of VRAM from NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA), multiple hard drive options (including standard and solid state drives), the so-called "Optimus" battery technology, the option for a Blu-ray player, and a Core i7 processor (plus an i7 Quad Core option for the 15.5-inch model), Sony is looking to lure power users with these machines, which range in price from $899.99 to $1,119.99.
Sony also unveiled its premium Vaios under the Z Series label, which the company claimed was "designed for the multi-tasking business professional." These machines, which Sony claims are its "fastest notebooks ever," use solid state flash RAID drives, Intel Quad Core processor, and will retail for a starting price of $1,599.99.
Finally we have a product that sounds like something Sony developed after reading about rumors of an Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) television: the L Series All-in-One desktop. Described as a "contemporary high-definition PC/TV with a stunning full flush 24-inch (diag.) LED backlit multi-touch display, offering intuitive touch access to the Internet, Blu-ray Disc movies, music and photos," the L Series starts at $1,299.99.
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