Sony Considering "Division Two" VAIO Notebook Lineup

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.