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Sony to Use Third Parties to Make Cheap Vaios

Gordon Kelly


Sony to Use Third Parties to Make Cheap Vaios

Here's a turn up for the end of the week: Sony has announced a line of "division two" Vaio laptops which will be built by third parties to target the more budget orientated ranges from its rivals.

This surprising news comes via PC Pro in an interview with Sony Vaio business group deputy president Ryosuke Akahane, who stated that despite cost savings the range would retain the "taste of VAIO, the style of VAIO".

"We will include new technology {CPUs, GPUs, etc} in division number one first, and then we can learn and we can get the know-how, then we can transfer {the technology} to the products coming from division two," he explained. "The quality criteria itself is no different between division number one and division number two."

Akahane also defended the decision not to introduce a new name for these models, saying "Making a new brand is an investment, it’s not efficient, and also for the customer we wanted to enhance the identity of VAIO more and more and for that having a different brand is not good."

He goes on to say market share was the key driver behind this radical decision, but did not reveal when the new (and potentially impossible to distinguish) "division two" Vaios would launch or which company/companies would build them.

Of course, Sony is no stranger to third party manufacturing. Foxconn famously builds the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 (it builds everything, including iPods, the Amazon Kindle, iPhones, the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii), but this is still a major diversion for its Vaio machines. Whether the move does indeed enhance the Vaio brand by bringing it to a wider audience, or dilute it through cheap imitation remains to be seen...


via PC Pro


April 16, 2010, 9:52 pm

Wouldn't it be a good idea to simply brand them "Sony" rather than "Sony Vaio"?

But seeing as this is Sony, and therefore lacking common sense, it doesn't surprise me in the least...


April 16, 2010, 10:34 pm

Don't Asustek manufacture Sony Vaios anyway? Apple and a lot of manufacturers don't make any of their own products. As long as the design is still done by the vaio team it wouldn't bother me if they kept the same name.


April 17, 2010, 12:35 am

Yeah, but who buys technology based on brand? There's barely been a company that's been consistently good for the last five years, let along in the long term.

M Woodcock

April 17, 2010, 12:40 am

So, how do we know whether we are being conned then? Or do we guess that because it's cheaper its the second best


April 17, 2010, 10:22 am

Xiphias said on 16th April 2010

"Yeah, but who buys technology based on brand? There's barely been a company that's been consistently good for the last five years, let along in the long term."

Oooh, I reckon about 90% of people who don't read sites like this.


April 17, 2010, 3:00 pm

As already pointed out - isn't this exactly what premium uber brand Apple do? (Although they don't pass on any cost savings, hence the huge corporate bank balance.)

Go onto MacRumors and you'll find hundred of claims of how Apple's premium components thrash PCs for quality (despite the internals being almost identical, but usually older).


April 17, 2010, 4:20 pm

Woodcock - Conned, or possibly Foxconned? (terrible pun). Because as Gordon points out, they make everything now. They are also quite possibly a bit evil... although it may be best not to dwell on that, since you can't really boycott their products unless you plan on abstaining from virtually all consumer electronics. Isn't the modern globalised corporate world fun?

Greg: Agreed. Brand awareness probably determines how most of the population spend their money when it comes to technology - consider the implications of using "iPod" as a generic word instead of PMP or MP3 player... are most people buying iPods because they know them to be better that alternatives, or simply because they know them? Even tech-savvy people will often place brand loyalty before common sense.


April 17, 2010, 4:51 pm

Brands Like err Apple? lol


April 17, 2010, 9:12 pm

Not sure Sony's laptops could get any worse than they are now.


April 18, 2010, 4:33 pm

@SRS - What don't you like about them? I have had a 15", 17" and 11" Vaio which have never had a problem and have lasted 12, 8 and 5 years respectively. They have been used every day and only needed a new battery every few years. I now have a MacBook Pro for iPhone software development and apart from being aluminium isn't any better built than the Vaios.


April 18, 2010, 6:08 pm

I've always believed Sony Vaios were made by Asus. So no shock here. I guess the top end Vaios might have been made in house, but this is no big deal.


April 18, 2010, 6:41 pm

A brand is a brand is a brand.

Given a company protect the brand products, by monitoring supplier output quality rigorously, who cares who makes them? Much of what we wear, eat, consume in general is made by 3rd parties... Were's the big deal with Sony? - What bit of a Sony laptop IS Sony anyway - do they make all the chips, mouldings, screen etc?


April 18, 2010, 7:01 pm

I'm frankly still amazed that Sony (who to the last of my knowledge were industry leaders in battery technology) still field laptops with puny, pathetic batteries. Why?


April 18, 2010, 10:23 pm

I read sites such as this but i also tend to buy brands i trust (through past purchases) although quality and price is a big deal for me.

I currently find Sony laptops extortionately expensive just look at their netbooks, more expensive than a laptop its stupid. Before looking at brand i will look at the hardware and make a direct comparison, i ALWAYS find Sony charge a lot more for the same hardware other manufacturers use. Build quality is meh to me yeh it's good but i wont be bashing a laptop around and so it wont affect it to bad, only concern i have is the toughness of the hinges on the screen don't want it moving around.

Overall i prefer Samsung as a brand always has their monitors never once had a problem, and looking at the recent review of R580 loving the look of that laptop. I would happily choose that over a Sony laptop, would love a little red around i do.

From my point of view the only premium thing about Sony laptops is it's price, you can find equal hardware, build quality in cheaper brands. So if they start making cheaper laptops then the build quality will also most likely reduce putting it at equal price with competing brands but at a lower quality yet again loosing out.

If i have problems with a brand i will often abandon it and switch to something else my old laptop has AMD CPU and a Nvidia GPU, has a lot of issues with the CPU overhearing and the GPU not working so when i got a desktop i went with Intel and ATI, and have have zero problems.

Brand loyalty is a sad thing as people can't see both sides and are blinded towards the fault.

meeto 0

April 19, 2010, 2:52 am

I have only had one laptop and that was a refurbished Toshiba. Its 6yrs old and on its death bed if not already dead. Im getting a new laptop next month and I thought I wanted an Apple but you are paying way too much for the design and name. I wanted a multimedia Sony and the new F range works for me.

Great looks. Love the fact that they have a numerical pad with isolated keys and elegant black casing. Blu ray, core i7 and a decent graphics card. Should make my photoshop use hassle free. I think sony, after apple, have the best design aesthetics and you get better specs for your cash.


April 20, 2010, 5:46 pm

Most people by on Brand - that much is fact whether in be consciously or not.

I personally have a negative association with brand Sony - every time I think oh I think I like this particular product eg viao or ps3 etc then a little voice in my head reminds me of the drm controversy on there software from what 10 years ago and I then look elsewhere.

But thats me - and I suspect many people have a mental image associated with a brand.

heres a few of mine: Sony - dont quite trust, Apple - Nice idea but really a bmw(c) nice if I were a spendthrift, Asus, Panasonic, Samsung, - generally good all round...

You see my point - so who exactly buys non branded stuff?? - why exactly do Companies spend huge amounts of money on Brand?

because it means something even TR is a brand what does it mean -trusted reviews- what are they all about?

Do see the point i'm getting at? Brand is the starting point

if they SONY can keep the're quality up I'm sure it will be a good move.

Seriously when was the last time anyone saw an unbranded motherboard of gfx card -

Is there such a thing as unbranded any more?

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