It would be oh-so-easy to mock Sony for being so very late to the party with a 'real' netbook: the Vaio W Series. I can't help but think that the wait has lead to Sony launching a product which is a bit of a mixed bag of getting it right in some areas, but then badly wrong in others.
The design, for instance, I can dig. The "sugar" white, "cocoa" brown and "berry" pink colours are fine and the typical-for-Sony isolated keyboard will almost certainly be as good as on every other recent Vaio notebook. Likewise, the choice of a 10.1in display with a 1,366 x 768 pixel resolution is almost certainly the right one.
However, inside it's less impressive. A 1.66GHz Atom N280 CPU is too last-generation for my tastes, though 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive are hardly surprising; XP is installed and Sony is playing by Microsoft's rules to get it cheap. Draft-N wireless and Bluetooth connectivity is good, two USB ports are less so and an SD card reader will be more welcome than the MemoryStick slot also provided. And a battery claiming only 160mins of life will surely deliver even less in the real world?
Pricing isn't mentioned, but we can at least be sure the W Series will cost less than the P Series 'netbook' Sony launched earlier in the year. We'll know for sure in August when the W goes on sale.