Sony enters mini-laptop market with a GPS laptop, VAIO P
Marvin Hlavac
Sony VAIO P series is being introduced today at CES2009. Priced at $899, the new laptop is much more expensive than other netbooks that we've seen in stores lately, but it surely looks visually very appealing. And it even comes with a built-in GPS receiver. Sony VAIO P sold in North America will come with Microsoft Streets and Trips 2009 software for trip planning and GPS navigation.



Operating system: Windows Vista
Screen: 8" 1600 X 768
CPU: Intel Atom (Silverthorne) 1330 MHz
GPS and other services will be based on Gobi technology
1600x768 on an 8" screen? You'll definitely need a magnifying glass for that. I am also surprised they didn't go for the dual-core Atom 330 for that price. Vista is a waste of time unless it has a dedicated video chip. The built in Intel one only rates a 2 in Vista.

Marvin Hlavac
Terry, yes, I like the fact that you can squeeze a lot into the small space of the 8" screen, but I'm not sure if my vision is still good enough to read so small ...

How do you avoid an unpleasant viewing experience with smaller icons and text?

We feel that customers will primarily use this PC for Web browsing. With Web browsing we eliminate the side-to-side scrolling that you have on other similarly sized ultraportables. But we also have a function key (F10) for magnifying, which increases the size of font and of items but doesnít change the resolution. It actually uses the function keys in each of the programs. For example, in Internet Explorer it will zoom as if you went into the menu and selected zoom. If you are on the Windows desktop it will also zoom the icons. In Vista you can also adjust the font size throughout the whole operating system.
Laptop Magazine: Sony: VAIO P Will Make You Forget About Other Netbooks
Wow! What a load of market-speak. What is that about S&T 2009 not having voice guided directions? And, as usual Sony is trying to sell the sizzle, not the substance. Sony makes a solid product but the more I read the less I wanted this.

Its not a netbook. Its a gutless notebook with WWAN and GPS. Also, the experience myself and others have had with built-in GPS and GMPC makes me wonder if that combo would work.

Marvin Hlavac
Do you think having GPS integrated will help the VAIO P stand out? Why not offer voice-guided directi0ns out of the box?

Previously when we had Sprint you had to acquire WWAN in order to use GPS functionality. Now we donít have to take advantage of the WWAN service to get a GPS lock. We included Microsoft Streets & Trips 2009 with every notebook so there is a full GPS solution right out of the box. There is no voice guided assistance, but in order to do that we had to look at other providers and that would have been a lot of data installed on each unit. It could have been as much as 8GB with those options so we went with this because itís not as taxing. Of course, you can go out and get Garmin software etc

Good catch, Terry. I have no idea what the interviewer and the interviewee both meant by "no voice-guided directions". Streets and Trips has had that functionality for years. Could it be that the small new Sony VAIO P500 has no speakers? But if that's what they are both talking about, than the sentence "Of course, you can go out and get Garmin software etc" makes no sense either.
Marvin Hlavac

If I could afford it, or if I were in the market for a new laptop, I would very seriously consider buying it. Especially now, since RAM is going to be releasing new suction-cup vehicle mounts to accommodate small laptops and UMPCs.
I think its list is $899. Price point wise, both Aspire and EEE still have advantages. And I worry about it running Vista with an XP cpu

Ken in Regina
Hi Daniel,

I have not looked closely at the specs. If it runs Vista Home Basic, that version performs about as well as XP on the same hardware. But Home Basic doesn't have the pretty Aero Glass interface that some people like. The graphics in Aero Glass are one of the things that require a better system to run Vista Home Premium or higher versions without hurting the performance compared to XP.

If the Sony runs Home Premium or higher, one way to get some performance improvement is to turn off the Aero Glass interface. I have done that on my Acer Aspire 1.6GHz laptop and it makes a difference. There are lists of things that can be done to tune Vista for better performance on XP-class machines. There are lots of default settings that are of no value to the average user and can be changed by anyone who enjoys tweaking their system. (Quel est "tweaking" en francais?)

woow.. this is really cool.

I wonder when will it come to my town
Marvin Hlavac
Hi kucingarab,

Welcome to Laptop GPS World.

When will it come to your town? I don't know. Which part of the world are you in? I just checked sony.com, and some configurations of Vaio P are already available for order. Other configurations are available for pre-order.
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