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New unique Sony ultraportable VAIOs coming this summer

VAIO ultraportable to double as a desktop replacement, in addition to a separate netbook with Google Chrome OS support

Sony products have always been quite stylish with a sense of “high-end hardware” attached to its branding. According to SonyInsider, this trend will continue with two new upcoming VAIO laptops that will be unlike many others released so far.

One of these laptops will be an ultraportable VAIO Hybrid PC. With expected specifications of a Core i7 processor, HDMI 1.4, Intel Wireless Display and a total weight of less than 2.5 pounds (1.13kg), the notebook is a powerhouse on its own that could hold up well against Apple’s MacBook Air. Unfortunately, expected screen size is still unknown. The more exciting functionality, however, will be the ability for the ultraportable to connect to a secondary component. This stationary unit will turn the ultraportable into a full-fledged desktop replacement by providing Radeon HD 6700M series discrete graphics, a Blu-ray burner, and additional HDMI and USB ports. On paper, this concept would be perfect for users wanting a long-lasting ultraportable that can also replace a dedicated desktop when stationed indoors.

Interestingly, reports also point to a possible Intel Thunderbolt port for the new VAIO Hybrid PC. The interface was recently demonstrated running on Apple’s latest MacBook refresh with swift speeds and results. It is currently unclear, however, if the port would be directly accessible through the laptop or is associated with the desktop replacement docking unit.

The second Sony VAIO is expected to be an 11.6-inch netbook with Google Chrome OS support. If true, this would be Sony’s first laptop to officially support the new OS out of the box and would really have to make an impression in order to showcase what advantages this could bring to users.

Outside of its Chrome OS support, the netbook is expected to run on Nvidia’s Tegra 2 platform, have a 1366x768 resolution screen, 1GB RAM, 3G or 4G support, and an ULV GeForce GPU for better graphics performance. Although 1GB of RAM is quite low by today’s standards, Electronista predicts that the low memory footprint of the Google OS could offset the lower amount of included RAM. The weight of the netbook will be as little as 2.2 pounds (0.99kg) with up to 8 hours of solid battery life.

Currently, Sony offers ultraportable lines of laptops with the attractive yet pricey VAIO X and Z Series. The new notebooks mentioned above will likely be new VAIO lines instead of just extensions to an already existing product series.

Expected prices are unknown at this time, but we can anticipate a summer 2011 release for the VAIO Hybrid PC and Chrome OS netbook. These unique laptops will definitely breathe some fresh air to Sony’s already wide assortment of consumer notebooks.


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Allen Ngo, 2011-03-20 (Update: 2012-05-26)