Vaio Z Canvas — return of the prodigal brand
Vaio which was once Sony’s PC division is now in the hands of Japan Industrial Partners, a private equity fund, will start to sell laptops at Microsoft Corp.’s retail stores in the U.S. in October. The company plans to fill high-end niches, rather than pursuing mass-market users in a bid to guarantee profitability. Vaio was missing from the international market after Sony sold the brand to JIP, after which Vaio’s product catalog shrank and was marketed solely in Japan.
One of the key advantages of Vaio-branded personal computers in Japan is extremely high quality. While all Vaio PCs are made by various contract manufacturers, just like in case of Sony Vaio, every system is meticulously inspected and tested in Japan before shipping to ensure maximum customer satisfaction. Vaio is also known for their very sleek PCs and innovative design, one which springs to mind is the Vaio duo, which is quite an interesting concept of convertible Windows tablets.
For its return, one of the first systems to be made available in the U.S. will be the Vaio Z Canvas, which is a high-end tablet/hybrid featuring Intel Corp.’s Core i7 processor with Iris Pro graphics, a high-quality A4-sized touch-screen, an advanced stylus, an SSD, up to 16GB of DDR3 memory and a lot of expansion capabilities. The product may compete against Microsoft’s own Surface Pro, but is in many ways different.
Vaio’s current product lineup is not as broad as Sony’s product family used to be. In addition to the Vaio Z Canvas, the company offers Vaio Pro laptops with 11.6” and 13.3” displays designed for business users, Vaio Fit notebooks with 15.5” monitors for consumers as well as Vaio Z laptops for everyone.
In Japan, Vaio’s market share is around one per cent today. Japan Industrial Partners plan to make Vaio profitable and to exit from its investment in fiscal 2017, either via an initial public offering or a sale.
“My preference is listing the company, though finding a good partner — such as Sony, Microsoft or Apple — would also be an option,” said the chief executive of Vaio.
Pokdepinion: Laptops under Vaio were very well designed, and I do like their designs, but the problem is their prohibitive pricing. Hopefully with its return to the international market starting with the US, pricing will be more competitive to stand a chance in the increasingly crowded mobile PC market.