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Sony Launches New Hybrid Laptops to Counter Tablet Growth

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If you suddenly find PC makers quoting Charles Darwin, more often than not, don’t be surprised. “Evolve or Perish” is what they have got to live by, if they are to sustain themselves.

And, of course, the PC industry is fast evolving. They do not have a choice. Shipments of PCs had dropped 14% worldwide last quarter, according to the IDC. This is the fourth consecutive quarter of an year-over-year decline. PC shipments are expected to fall by 7.8% in 2013.

Much of that is due to the fact that tablets are fast becoming the preferred computing device. For casual users, and even professionals, tablets make more sense: Why carry a bulky laptop, when a lighter, thinner, and cheaper option will do?

As gloomy and destined-for-obscurity as their prospects might seem, in my opinion, PCs aren’t going anywhere. There remain various tasks that Tablets and Smartphones just can’t do. For example, I cannot imagine typing this article on anything other than a big keyboard.

And companies like Sony have decided that it is time to innovate.

Sony is unveiling a new line of Vaio Pro and Vaio Duo laptops with new Intel Haswell-based microprocessors.

Sony VIAO Pro

Aimed at mobile professionals as well as students, the Vaio Pro is a touch-enabled Ultrabook laptop. The device comes with NFC features, which allows it to instantly communicate with other NFC devices and transfer data.

The laptop will be available in both 11 and 13-inch models. The USP of the VAIO PRO is the ultra light weight. It weighs just 870 grams according to Sony. Also included, in a first for a PC, is a high-speed PCIe SSD drive that gives twice the performance of a traditional laptop SSD drive.

Already with a glorious nine-hour battery life, its life can be doubled with a sheet battery. With the advances of Intel’s Haswell generation of laptop components, the graphics capability is promised to be significantly improved.

The unveiling of the products, by Sony, is slated to happen at the Computex computer trade show in Taiwan. Intel will also be unveiling more information about its Haswell platform and product roadmap at the same place.

The other and the more interesting product is the Sony Vaio Duo. It is a slider hybrid PC, and can be used either as a tablet or as a laptop. For better interaction experience with the touchscreen, it comes with an electronic pen. The use of carbon fiber ensures that the weight is just 1.30 kgs. The screen is 13 inches.

The new Surf Slider design of the machine with a slimmer hinge ensures a quick and easy transition between tablet and laptop modes, using one hand. The laptop has a full-sized keyboard and trackpad. It has an eight-megapixel rear-facing camera with the Exmor RS image sensor from Sony.

The Vaio Pro models are available on June 9 in carbon black and carbon silver colors for $1,149 and $1,249. The Vaio Duo 13 model is available June 9 in carbon black and carbon white for $1,399.

To stay competitive in the evolving market, companies will have to continually work on improving their products, through a combination of advanced technology, good design, and reasonable prices. Sony seems to be on the right track.

What do you guys think?

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