Thu, Nov 16, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Sony plans to sell new Vaio range at `comfortable' price

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Eyeing the deep pockets of younger people, Sony Corp yesterday announced the debut of a new laptop series priced at a "comfortable price point."

"The target buyers are rich and price conscious," Hiroyuki Oda, Sony Taiwan Ltd's division president, told a product launch yesterday.

Retailing for NT$39,800, the Vaio C15 series comes in two colors: cappuccino black and seashell white. The laptops are equipped with Core 2 Duo processors, 512MB of memory, 80GB storage and a standalone graphics card. The 13.3-inch widescreen machines are slightly bulky at 2.3kg with battery.

CLOSING THE GAP

Sony hopes that the launch of C15 series will be able to close the gap with its rivals in the mainstream notebook sector by pricing the new computers at between NT$30,000 and NT$40,000, Oda said.

Sony has been selling its Vaio at NT$20,000 more than the average market price for mainstream notebooks.

In the first quarter of last year, the average Vaio notebook sold for NT$68,200, compared to NT$46,000 for the market standard, according to Sony's statistics.

Vaio's average price declined to NT$57,600 in the second quarter of this year, still higher than NT$39,600 for general laptops.

Despite its higher price tag the Sony products have enjoyed brisk sales in Taiwan, selling around 7,000 laptops each quarter, making it the No. 6 brand in the country.

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦) is the top laptop seller in the country, followed by Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo Group (聯想) and Toshiba Corp.

BATTERY BROUHAHA

Sony appears confident that the wave of recent recalls of its computer batteries will not hurt its personal-computer operations.

Top PC makers, including Dell Inc and Apple Computer Inc, have announced recalls of up to 9.6 million Sony batteries after reports that the batteries could overheat and catch fire.

Sony announced last week that it planned to start selling the world's lightest notebook -- the "type G" Vaio -- next month in Japan, in a bid to boost its presence among business users.

Weighing just 898g, the "type G" Vaio comes with a 12.1-inch screen.

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