CES 2009 is fast approaching, and rumors of new laptops are everywhere. This week though, the focus is on Sony.
Though enterprising news outlets have dug up hints at new products from the likes of Dell and Lenovo weeks before the big gadget exhibition, Sony is outing itself as having a new portable PC that will "change the way you think about laptops." A clock counting down the days and hours until January 9, when the new product is scheduled to appear, popped up on Sony's New Zealand site, as pointed out over the weekend by Engadget.
Putting the teaser in context of the photo of the oddly-shaped Sony device that popped up on the FCC's Web site two weeks ago, it certainly seems likely that this will be a notebook unlike what others are offering.
But the question is, will it be a Netbook? Sony has been conspicuously absent from the Netbook market among its Windows-wielding brethren. (Apple has held out too, but it's not price-matching with other PC makers.)
Netbooks have taken off in the past 12 months, moving from a quirky offering from Asus to the form factor that's giving the PC industry a whiff of hope. All the major manufacturers are on board, and it's paying off now since the price tags are cheaper than standard notebooks. However, how it will hurt them in the long run (dragging down average prices of notebooks, cannibalizing lower-end laptop models) is still to be determined.
The argument for Sony keeping out of the low-end fray is certainly there. Sony--like Apple--fancies itself a maker of luxury devices and is loath to get into price wars with the likes of Dell and HP. (Of course, it didn't want to wrestle with the lower-tier Vizio and Westinghouse in LCD TVs either, but the reality of the HDTV market forced Sony's hand.)