Sony Considering "Division Two" VAIO Notebook Lineup

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News Posted: Fri, Apr 16 2010 3:05 PM
Sony's VAIO line has been around for years now, and for years, it has remained constant; classy, styled well, and expensive. That's just the markings of a VAIO. They've been called the "Apple notebooks" of the PC world, and while they have added so many colors and finishes now that the same thing really isn't true any longer, it's still a very prominent laptop line.

But it's not enough. Sony has recently admitted that they're considering a second segment of VAIO laptops, a "division two" as it will be called. The deputy president of Sony VAIO’s Business Group announced a two-tier strategy for the company’s laptop division, with "division one" being the cutting-edge VAIOs we know today and "division two" being new VAIOs that will actually be manufactured by Sony partners.



Despite the split, Sony refuses to call the second VAIO line anything else (i.e. Dell Studio vs. Inspiron or Latitude). Instead, it seems like "division two" will have older specifications, and in turn, hopefully lower prices. The Sony logo will remain, and all of Sony's quality checks will still be in place. In fact Sony will still be approving or rejecting all third-party designs. Here's the exact quote on the technology shift: "The quality criteria itself is no different between division number one and division number two. We will include new technology [such as the latest processors] in division number one first, and then we can learn and we can get the know-how, then we can transfer [the technology] to the products coming from division two."

Apparently Sony hopes that having another tier of VAIOs will get them out to more people; there's a sales target of ten million for 2010, rising from 6.8 million last year. He stated that Sony needs "a certain market share," and if they don't get it, it's "tough to survive." Sony has also stated that they have no interest in buying a rival to increase share.



It's still hard to say how this will work. If it's labeled Sony, and it looks like a Sony, how will end users know that it's a "division two" VAIO? Maybe that's exactly the point, and hopefully the lower-than-average price tags will be the main giveaway.
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RyuGTX replied on Fri, Apr 16 2010 5:18 PM

Well, according to the original post, it will have older specifications. So I'm assuming lower-end parts.

 

Other than that, I've only used a Sony Vaio once. I was using a friends to correct his paper and write comments on what need to be fixed. From that short experience, I really loved using the Vaio. It felt very durable and the keys felt comfortable.

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3vi1 replied on Fri, Apr 16 2010 6:26 PM

Isn't putting the Vaio name on a machine made to older specs going to end up poisoning the brand name? "I got a new Sony Vaio, and it only get's _X_ fps in that new game."

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If they want to survive in the market like they say, then they need to provide a more efficient laptop that has better parts and performance but doesn't break the bank. Saying that I'm going to "buy a NEW computer with OLD hardware" just doesn't make any sense in my mind.

And I agree with 3vi1, I think that it will poison the brand name. Red flags are going off everywhere.

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la_guy_10 replied on Fri, Apr 16 2010 10:29 PM

If Sony does indeed build a good laptop this could be a plus as they are not sacrificing quality they are just not using cutting edge hardware in 2nd tier VAIO's. Sounds like they will work the kinks out of Tier 1 and then implement the changes corrected of course into the Tier 2. No harm no foul from what I see, sounds like a bargain to me!!!

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Inspector replied on Fri, Apr 16 2010 11:42 PM

I also see not harm here

news:

We will include new technology [such as the latest processors] in division number one first, and then we can learn and we can get the know-how, then we can transfer [the technology] to the products coming from division two.

From that line i think that the Tier 2 will just have a later update. the new hardwares will be placed in tier 1 and then after testing and all after a while the tier 2 will get them. I don't think they are using old parts or lower end parts, just not as new as it would be in a tier 1. (like after a year or something they release on the tier 2) Again, im not sure what this post really meant and this is just how i read it :D

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I'm a little confused by that article as well. I feel like it said two different things. 

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AKwyn replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 2:14 AM

From what I've read, Division Two is going to be it's budget line. This is what I don't get, if they're going to be making budget VAIO laptops, why not bring back the desktops as well. I'm kinda afraid by what Sony is doing, the VAIO line is generally known for it's reliable computers, if their going to be making computers with lower quality parts then won't that diminish the VIAO name slightly. I think of VAIO notebooks as luxury notebooks because they got all of the state-of-the-art features and because they look amazing, I don't think Sony is making the right choice here in my opinion.

 

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RyuGTX replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 2:15 AM

You guys bring up a good point about a potential problem of tarnishing the Sony brand image. I think it is very valid, but it seems that Sony is aware of this.  Sony will still be doing its quality checks and will be approving/rejecting 3rd-party designs.

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That's another reason why I'm confused. Clearly this is a bad idea, and I don't know why Sony is following through with it. I can understand the whole "let's make this more affordable" scheme, but I don't think they should downgrade the quality to the point where the waters are poisoned, so to speak.

It just doesn't make any sense. I have only known of the Vaio notebooks, I wasn't aware that they made desktops. Did anyone here ever own one?

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realneil replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 1:29 PM

A budget line of PC's is a good idea, one that other companies have made millions from in the past. My question is will these budget PC's come with all of the same crap-ware that the expensive models are bloated with? It takes a day or two to remove all of the crap from a Vaio as it stands,....and that's almost as bad as the mountain of crap installed on new Toshiba computers.

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AKwyn replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 2:25 PM

realneil:

A budget line of PC's is a good idea, one that other companies have made millions from in the past. My question is will these budget PC's come with all of the same crap-ware that the expensive models are bloated with? It takes a day or two to remove all of the crap from a Vaio as it stands,....and that's almost as bad as the mountain of crap installed on new Toshiba computers.

Obviously, the answer is yes. Even budget PC's from HP, Dell and Gateway come loaded with crapware.

 

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I don't think end users will care if it is division two or not.

Sony already has so many different divisions, it is probably hard for even them to keep track of. Just look at Sony/Columbia/Tri-Star pictures, there are so many different subsidiaries that they all basically operate as their own little entities. They all just have to show a profit and then report to the higher echelons to appease them. If they are not they just dissolve that division and absorb any support to the other departments.

Those little netbook Vaio's had a very good reputation and sales numbers. I knew alot of people who rushed out and got one. Of course they were calling me the next day to remove everything. They have a pretty good design and are fairly durable. The only thing I have heard is that the power connector becomes a little loose after a while.

I think this business model is just the way Sony operates. If you think about it it is a good way to phase out a certain type of product while still protecting all the other assets within the company. It really frees up any kind of liability towards the other Sony lines, so they don't have to worry about loosing equity from the TV's or DVD's or the PS3's. So when netbooks become no-more, they will start up the Sony Tablet production line, and do the same with it in about twenty years.

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Kyouya replied on Mon, Apr 19 2010 1:02 AM

I have a small problem with Sony bring up a division two Vaio. It contradicts their identity. Sony is known for making expensive high quality products...not budget priced quality products. By applying this method, they are moving away from their core audience. I think this is will backfire on them severely. I'm not sure what kind of market strategy they are trying to apply by targeting a demographic that does not match well with their mission statement.

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