VAIO is a perfect example of a brand, which started on a high note, peaked, but ultimately shattered under market pressure, only to be sold by its parent Sony, to a group of Japanese investors. However, a revival is on cards for VAIO, under the same name, but with a much-needed, different market approach this time.
Japanese investment firm, Japan Industrial Partners or JIP, which bought the VAIO business from Sony last year in February, has so far focused VAIO business in the domestic market. Now the firm is preparing to launch a tablet known as VAIO Canvas Z under the VAIO brand in October this year, outside Japan in the US and Brazilian market.
The pricing will start from $2199 in the US and will go on sale on the Microsoft store and VAIO official website from October 5th. The pricing for Brazilian market is yet to be disclosed while prebooking in the US will start somewhere around middle September.
The gigantic tab boasts of an i7 -4770HQ processor, a 256GB SSD, and up to 16GB of on-board memory along with 12.3 inch display and a detachable keyboard. It is aimed towards heavy professional users such as photographers and designers who currently rely on Apple for meeting their computing needs.
This strategy however, is in stark contrast to that employed by VAIO under Sony, which focused more on grabbing market share by launching laptops and PCs for various low-cost market segments. Commenting upon the same in an interview with WSJ, CEO Yoshimi Ota said,
We are not interested in cheap models for everyone.
This also means that VAIO Canvas Z will be up against Microsoft Surface Pro-3 whose price range begins from $799. VAIO PCs first came into existence way back in 1996 and earned significant popularity due to their sleek and trendy designs.
However, gradually the brand was overshadowed by rivals like Apple and Lenovo and by 2013, the Sony PC shipments had fallen to 1.9 % of the worldwide shipments ultimately leading Sony to sell the business to JIP.
Apart from PCs, JIP is also looking to launch various other products such as communication devices, wearables, factory-automation machines and most importantly entertainment robots. According to a WSJ report, the sole factory of the company has already devoted its spare resources towards building the toy robot Palmi for Fuzisoft.
Even Ota indicated towards their intentions to build robots in the near future under the VAIO brand.
This is not surprising as the market share of PCs has been constantly on decline forcing companies to invest their resources in future technology and other devices to remain in the market.
According to a report by IDC, market of PCs had shrunk down to 12% in the second quarter, forcing traditional PCs out of trend with the advent of tablets and notebooks. Even in its domestic market Japan, VAIO’s market has fallen down to 1% as per a Euromonitor report cited by the WSJ.
However, Ota is confident about VAIO — which he expects to be profitable by the end of the year after which he even indicated towards an IPO or sale to another company, naming Microsoft, Apple and surprisingly Sony, among potential buyers.