When Sony announced last year that it was getting out of the PC business, many mourned the passing of the company’s Vaio brand. In fact, it’s likely that more people mourned the potential loss than had ever owned an actual Vaio-branded computer, as due to its relatively high price points, the brand never sold particularly well
The Vaio brand was sold to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), who brought the name back to store shelves last year, albeit only in Japan. The Vaio Z and Z Canvas were certainly cut from the same cloth as Vaio PCs had been under the Sony name, with the Vaio Z — the cheaper model — starting at roughly $1,600 and the Z Canvas selling for more.
Now Vaio has announced plans to return to the U.S., but while it offered two models in Japan, only one will be available here. The Vaio Z Canvas is either a convertible laptop or a beast of a tablet, depending on how you look at it, packing an i7 processor, 16GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a detachable keyboard, starting at $2,200.
Preorders for the Z Canvas are expected to start in September, and the device goes on sale in October. If you’re looking to find one on store shelves, you’ll have to head to the nearest Microsoft Store, though the Z Canvas will also be sold online via the Vaio website.
Vaio wasn’t sold as a brand alone: The company’s lone factory was a Sony factory before the company’s sale to JIP. This factory was previously used to manufacture Sony’s Aibo robot dog, and Vaio is already putting those capabilities to use building a toy robot for Fujisoft.
Before long, the company plans to offer a robot of its own. “Whether it’s humanoid or dog-shaped, we plan to start making VAIO-branded robots in the near future,” Vaio CEO Yoshimi Ota told The Wall Street Journal. The company also has its eye on products varying from wearables to factory automation machines, according to the interview.
All these ambitious ideas are prepared with a single goal in mind: Vaio is aiming for either an initial public offering or sale to another company by 2017. Microsoft, Apple, and even Sony were mentioned by Ota as potential buyers.
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