Sony joins Windows 8 fray with Vaio Tap 20 "mobile" desktop PC, Duo 11 Ultrabook laptop/tablet

Sony joins Windows 8 fray with Vaio Tap 20 "mobile" desktop PC, Duo 11 Ultrabook laptop/tablet

Summary: Hybrid is the name of the game when it comes to the electronics giant's new systems for Microsoft's latest OS, including a tabletop computer that behaves like a tablet.

TOPICS: Laptops, Tablets, PCs, Windows

Microsoft has been touting new form factors for PCs running its new Windows 8 operating system, and Sony seems happy to oblige with a pair of new machines that offers users flexibility in how they get their computing tasks accomplished. 


In the case of the Vaio Duo 11 Ultrabook, Sony is following in the footsteps of already announced hybrids that combine laptop and tablet features (so-called convertible portables like Lenovo's new Windows 8 lineup). It consists of an 11.6-inch display and a keyboard that work as a traditional laptop, but the user can essentially fold down the screen onto the keyboard using the company's Surf Slider mechanism to turn it into a tablet. That makes it easier to use its touchscreen features, and Sony includes a digitizer stylus with swappable pen tips for different writing/drawing tasks. Engadget points out that the display uses Gorilla Glass and IPS technology and features 1080p full HD resolution.

The base Duo 11 is priced at $1,099 and comes with an Intel Core i3 processor, along with 4GB of RAM, 128GB solid state drive, and Windows 8 Home Premium. It also comes with a nice selection of ports, including HDMI and VGA output, Ethernet jack, memory-card slot, and a pair of USB 3.0 ports. You can replace the base CPU with a Core i5 or i7 version or double the SSD capacity for an added cost. Other options include an additional battery using what Sony calls Sheet Battery technology, essentially doubling the system's battery life.

More novel is the new Vaio Tap 20, which Sony is calling a "mobile" desktop, but which essentially means it turns into a giant tabletop tablet. The 20-inch 1,600x900 IPS screen can lay flat, and it also operates on battery power, which means you can move it around the house if you don't mind its 11-pound weight (again, according to Engadget). It includes a stand so that you can use it as a traditional all-in-one desktop as well, though it ships with a mobile Intel Ivy Bridge processor. The base configuration also comes with 4GB of RAM and, proving it's as much desktop as tablet, a traditional 500GB hard drive. As with the Duo 11, you can upgrade the Tap 20 to Core i5 or i7 processors and SSD storage.

Other features include a built-in 1.2-megapixel webcam, subwoofer, and a rubber seal that helps the unit resists drops and water spillage. But its best feature might be its price: The Tap 20 starts at $879.99, similar to other all-in-ones, most of which lack tablet capabilities.

Do you think the Tap 20 will be a success with its hybrid capabilities and its price? Or is the world not ready for a 20-inch tablet that doubles as a desktop PC? Let us know your thoughts in the Talkback section below.     

Topics: Laptops, Tablets, PCs, Windows

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  • mannnn

    That 20" thing looks niceeee

    but you cudnt exactly get it out on the train could you haha!
    • You could

      they would just force you to buy 2 tickets (seats)
      William Farrel
    • agreed

      The Tap 20 looks impressive. I could see many uses for something like this. You could even have a family game night with the Tap 20 on your Coffee table. Anyone want to play some checkers?
      • The New Way of Computing

        This is the beginning of how we will be using computers from now on. Amazing.
  • I'm excited

    I'm excited about "thing out of the box" devices like the Vaio TAP 20. I think it would be awesome for family board games (imagine this thing lying flat on a coffe table, running something like Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit). It would also make for killer strategic war games. It would also be very cool for trip planning. Picture laying this thing on the dining room table and going over the routes for your next family vacation with a mapping application.

    Of course, I'd prefer if the thing weighed closer to 6 or even 8 lbs rather than 11, but remember: the first Mac Portable weighed a hefty 16 lbs. We've come a long way.
  • I can think of many places the Tap 20 would be useful

    I am an educator, and the ability to use it like a smartboard while still facing the class is terrific. And it would make a marvelous virtual mixing desk for audio (live or editing), video editing, or stage lighting. And at the price, it would be cheaper than many other controllers...

  • I think the Tap 20 could sell a lot

    One of the things I like about the Tab 20 is its stand. I think all tablets should have a stand like it. Also I believe if you put a bunch of properly configured demo units in stores, backed by good advertising, these things will be flying out the stores.

    A lot of people don't seem to realize that the larger the touch screen, the more immersive the experience, and in as much as tablets produced more compelling user experiences over smartphones, large touch screen Windows 8 devices will cause a renaissance in desktop computing. E.g. I believe if a school was to set up 2 computer labs, one with large touch screen computers with Windows 8, and one with Mac notebooks, the kids would flock to the lab with Windows 8 PCs. I also believe if you gave professionals large touch screen Windows 8 systems with slick touch based versions of Photoshop, Autocad, video editing software, etc. along with digitizer pens, you could face a riot on your hands if you tried to take these systems back from them. I don't believe the desktop is dead. I believe it will be subjected to user experience innovation through Windows 8 and OEM designs, and will see a resurgence - similar to the way smartphones took off after the user experience innovations they were subjected to at the advent of the iPhone; and tablets, which took off at the introduction of the user experience innovative iPad.
    P. Douglas
  • TAP 20

    That could very well be a replacement for my 20" ASUS laptop! I'm already running W8 and I love the real estate the 20" screen provides for a "desk top" machine as, that's where the thing stays, anyway.
    Crashin Chris
  • tap 20 concept will be ok

    wee need sumpin with abit more realestate..
    my fingers can only do soo much flicking especially while holding a magnifying glass.

    seriously business and education (as mentioned above) will benefit from the larger viewport.

    BUT why stop there 40, 80 plus plus...

  • I wish SONY could also do WP8 devices...

    in addition to their Android Phones. :)
  • Tap 20

    The Tap 20 looks amazing and, if done right, is definitely something I would be interested in. I find it curious that it starts at a lower price than the Ultrabook (not that I'm complaining). Does anyone else find the Tap 20 reminiscent of old surface devices (what Microsoft now calls Pixelsense)?
  • Tap 20 for small Ads. solutions

    Sometime Feb, 25 2011 - i wrote an article about the luster and excitement of technology. in this article i complained about how the android tablets (dropped my spirit), ZOom was out and in best buy,where i went to have a little one and one with the device. I was disappointed.

    It is close to 2 years and once again I am excited. Windows 8 giving the change for many form factors like the TAP 20 is great.
    I am already working on my app for local small business ads. direct marketing in small hotels.
    The idea is now greater given that i can get a few TAP 20. Just think about this - also combined this TAP 20 with a LEAP device and you will think that 2050 is here.