Sony’s Lifestyle PC VGN-588EQ  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , , , , ,

It was more than two years ago that Mike Abary, senior vice president at Sony, reached into his inner suit pocket and pulled out the Sony VAIO VGN-UX180P. At the time, he called this handheld PC, which ran a full-blown version of Windows XP, "an achievement in ingenious design." Little did he know he'd be pulling the same stunt again at a quaint hotel in Manhattan, where I was one of a handful of journalists invited to preview Sony's take on the netbook revolution. He reached into his suit jacket and pulled out a clamshell the length of two UX180Ps, not even an inch thick. This, as he described it, is Sony's answer to the surging netbook market, only it's not being classified as a netbook, it's not an update to the UX180P, and the intended audience, interestingly enough, is women. It's the Sony VAIO VGN-588EQ ($1,199 direct), better known as the Sony Lifestyle PC.

The Lifestyle PC is unlike anything you've seen before, in large part because of the 8-inch LED widescreen, the first of its kind. Even from afar, you may feel a tingling sensation as soon as you lay eyes on it, and your first instinct is to pick it up. Sony handed me a review unit while I was at the CES 2009 show in Las Vegas, allowing me to use it in multiple scenarios. I really don't want to call this a netbook, but there's no other way to classify this gorgeous device. It runs the Intel Atom platform, it's inexpensive for a Sony-branded laptop, and the keyboard is undersized—all netbook symptoms. On the other hand, it's so much more than a netbook. It weighs half as much as one and packs in features like 3G wireless, a pre-boot Linux environment, and a high-resolution screen. Although the Lifestyle PC is now at the pinnacle of design engineering, performance is an issue when Windows Vista is the only operating system offered, and the price is over $1,000 with the solid-state drive option. Based on design alone, though, I think Sony can create a huge following with this pseudo-netbook.

Even though there are no ties between them, the Lifestyle PC conjures up images of Intel's Moorestown concept device. It weighs a mere 1.4 pounds, only 0.2 pound heavier than the original UX180P. And it measures 9.7 by 4.7 by 0.8 inches, which is about the length of the ASUS EeePC 1002HA but only half its depth. It fits nicely in the inner pocket of a suit jacket or a Coach clutch bag, and is thin enough that you can slide two of them into a manila envelope. Its look is unique, and its design intentions are clear: Sony wants to dissociate the Lifestyle PC from the likes of the MSI Wind, the ASUS EeePC, and the Acer Aspire One—some of the more popular netbooks in the market. In my opinion, it has successfully done so. (full Story)

This entry was posted on Feb 2, 2009 at 12:09 AM and is filed under , , , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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