Sony Vaio P pricing comes under fire

Sony's new Vaio P netbook pricing comes under fire at CES 2009 this week
Sony's new Vaio P netbook pricing comes under fire at CES 2009 this week

The Sony Vaio P netbook has undoubtedly been one of the highlight products of CES 2009, yet the seemingly high price point of £850 when it releases in the UK later this year has immediately angered many Sony fans this week.

The Euro Sony fans' anger is compounded by the fact that the Vaio P gets an $899 price tag in the US. Not to mention the fact that a Sony Vaio rep told an interviewer this week that Sony saw itself as being 'laser focused on the customer'.

For many Sony fans, when compared with the $899 US price tag, the UK pricing of the Vaio P seems to be a case of Sony Europe getting its maths a bit wrong. Not to mention a case of Sony not really seeming to focus that 'customer laser' so well on Europe.

Sony lets pioneers falter

Sony's Mike Abary, vice president of Sony Information Technology Products, told LaptopMag back in September last year that Sony was "letting the pioneers in the market make the mistakes."

Following Sony's CES Vaio P announcement, Abary then told LaptopMag that Sony was "not responding to the netbook phenomenon" and that "the type of premium customer they are targeting probably doesn't even know what a netbook is."

The Sony man added that there was less emphasis with the Vaio P on "speeds and feeds and more emphasis on how this product is going to make you look and feel."

When asked what Sony thought of the male-female split among buyers for the Vaio P, Abary answered that Vaio sales have "a healthy amount of females and typically technology products are more popular with men… [so] we think it will be a 60/40 split."

When asked if he thought Vista was a naughty word, the Sony man said they "wanted to mirror the experience people had on their PC at home on this companion device" and that the company was "using Vista as a selling point, which I think that is kind of unique."

So, to quicky recap - Sony is seemingly not only patronising and mildly sexist but also woefully out of touch when it comes to popular opinion on PC operating systems.

Non-upgradeable, expensive

Is the Vaio P upgradeable?

Simply put. No, it is not. Or, as the Sony man puts it, it is "a fully encased product, meaning there are no exposed screws at all."

And why is this? Because "it is really hard to upgrade or swap out components. The motherboard is the size of a mini-disk and everything is really soldered and fixed."

£850 for a non-upgradeable netbook. Make your own mind up. We'll pass this time, though, Sony, despite our deep-seated love of Vaio. Thanks but...

Adam Hartley