October 7, 2002 7:20 AM PDT

Sony folds all-in-one PC into U.S. lineup

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Sony is going for the wow factor with a new all-in-one Vaio desktop.

The consumer electronics giant said Monday that it will begin selling its Vaio W in the United States as the PCV-W10 PC, starting later this month.

As previously reported, the new desktop is built around a 15.3-inch liquid-crystal display and a keyboard that folds up in front of the screen. When the keyboard is folded, the W can play music via built-in speakers.

With the 20-pound PC, Sony is aiming to take advantage of a trend toward convergence. Many consumers buying their third or fourth PC have been opting for a new class of large notebooks that use desktop Pentium 4 processors and 15-inch displays, instead of buying a desktop. Those machines, priced around $2,000, are meant to give buyers good performance and also let them easily move the computer from room to room or even travel with it.

The Vaio W destined for the United States will offer a configuration similar to that of its cousin in Japan.

The desktop will include a 1.6GHz Intel Celeron chip manufactured specifically for the new PC, along with 512MB of RAM, a 60GB hard drive and a combination CD-rewritable/DVD-ROM drive. Sony Vaio W It also includes IEEE 1394 ports for connecting digital cameras and other multimedia devices, as well as slots for Sony's Memory Stick data cards.

The new Vaio will sell for about $1,600, Sony said, close to its price in Japan.

It joins Sony's lineup of PCs for the holidays. The new machines emphasize multimedia performance, offering DVD burners and other features to help consumers edit pictures and video.

Sony is still taking a fairly big risk with the new Vaio. Aside from Apple Computer's iMac and, to some extent, Gateway's Profile, "there's really not been any successful all-in-one PCs," Steve Baker, analyst with NPD Techworld, has said.

Part of that has to do with price. All-in-one computers typically cost more than a PC and monitor purchased separately. Also, businesses have shown they prefer to keep PCs and monitors separate as monitors can be replaced less often than PCs. Such a setup also simplifies repairs.

Because of the difference in PC and monitor upgrade cycles, IBM discontinued its all-in-one NetVista X Series PC.


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