Sony Unveils Petite but Pricey 'Lifestyle PC'

Dennis Faas's picture

Sony has finally unveiled its first netbook just in time for the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. About the same size as your average bottle of Coca-cola , it's tiny, slim, and surprisingly expensive.

As expected, smaller, cheaper, and portable laptops -- otherwise known as 'netbooks' -- have stolen the spotlight from glitzy televisions and Blu-ray players at the 2009 CES. However, Sony's Vaio P Series Lifestyle PC is breaking the mould, at least in part.

Though it's definitely small (no longer than a mousepad and about as thin as your everyday cell phone), the size of the Vaio P Series will cost you. According to reports, the Vaio P will retail for as much as $900: triple the price of other netbooks from Acer, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard. (Source:

So, why the hefty price?

Aside from the fact that it's much smaller (8 inches) than the already slim 'n sleek competition, the Vaio P Lifestyle (weighing in at just 1.4 pounds) includes a more dazzling LED backlit display (for more vivid colors than the average LCD monitor), a display resolution of 1600x768, built-in support for 3G broadband, and 802.11n WiFi/Bluetooth support.

The Vaio P Lifestyle even includes a Global Positioning System (GPS) for finding your way through traffic in a new city. There's also a webcam for enjoying those extra-personal conversations with web hubbies across the world.

Like a number of available netbooks, the Vaio P Lifestyle is powered by the Intel Atom processor, which has proven fast and reliable enough for the aforementioned competitors. The Vaio P also packs about 2 gigs of memory and a respectable 60GB hard drive (although for a bit more users can opt for a 128GB solid-state drive). It will certainly need that power, given that Sony plans to include Windows Vista on this tiny netbook. (Source:

Although the netbook market seems to be rising in popularity precisely because it offers the basic tools for mobile computing at a reasonable, sub-$500 price, Sony is evidently hoping that Americans are secure enough in their jobs that they might actually purchase a netbook that isn't much cheaper than a full-sized laptop or powerful (though bulky) desktop.

At nearly a thousand bucks, you might consider Sony's feather-weight Vaio P Lifestyle: the Lotus Elise of the netbook market.

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