July 17, 2009, 4:58 PM — Sony just announced their new Vaio W netbook, er, excuse me, mini notebook. While many hoped Sony would deliver a netbook er mini-notebook with extra style to justify the typical Vaio extra price, neither happened. The Sony Vaio W contains the same Intel Atom processor as other netbooks, ships standard with 1GB of RAM and 160GB of hard disk. Prices start at $499.
Like HP, Sony calls this computer a “mini notebook” which is a shame. Netbooks are different from notebooks, and vendors should quit trying to confuse customers.
The biggest difference in the Sony and other netbooks is the display. While still 10 inches, or actually 10.1 inches diagonally, the Sony provides a resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels rather than the typical 1024 by 600 pixels. That's good and bad. For younger eyes, the higher resolution means less scrolling on Web pages and the like. For older eyes, the higher resolution means more squinting.
While Sony hasn't charged the type of high price we expected, they're still at the top of the price curve along with HP, Fujitsu, and Toshiba. Their vaunted design tricks seem limited to painting the unit three different colors (but not all at once, which would be cool).
Apple, of course, continues to deny a netbook is in the works, even though multiple reports from Taiwan and Chinese manufacturing companies say an Apple netbook-tablet is in the works. For that extra bit of design, and because Apple is Apple, the rumors predict a retail price around $800.