CES 2006 Profile: Sony (Computing)

Sony had several computing related product announcements at CES 2006. The most interesting of these are a new line of multimedia focused laptop computers, some new lightweight laptops and an e-book reader.

Sony’s new multimedia centric laptops are the VAIO FE line. Set to be available in February at a starting price of around $1,650, the VAIO FE line sports an array of features including Intel DDR2 memory, a serial ATA hard drive, 15.4” widescreen display with advanced display technology for better color purity and saturation, an enhanced audio system, Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, built in 802.11 wireless connectivity, DVD+R Double Layer/DVD+RW drive and a S-video connection.

The more lightweight side of Sony’s VAIO computers was represented at CES 2006 by the VAIO SZ line up. These models, when they become available in the spring starting at $1,999, will sport a diminutive size on the standard SZ and an even smaller 0.9 inches slim on the “SZ Premium”. Features of the SZ will include a biometric fingerprint sensor, hard drive shock protection, built-in microphone, built-in camera, 13.3” widescreen display, extended battery life, enhanced sound and a DVD+R Double Layer/DVD+RW drive.

Rounding out Sony’s major computing related announcements was news of their new Sony Reader e-book product. This device uses an electronic paper display with one hand navigation. It is a handheld e-reader which is about the size of paperback novel. Features include a thickness of about .5 inches, the ability to a large number of e-books in its internal memory, a memory card slot, support for content such as PDFs, JPEG photos and RSS feeds, a rechargeable battery life which allows for an estimated 7,500 “page turns” between charges, adjustable on screen text size and software which will connect to an online store where users can select from thousands of downloadable e-books. The Sony Reader is expected to be available this spring.