Remember Vaio? Back when Sony was more than just a movie maker and PlayStation builder, it was the company's PC brand. But as Sony's fortunes changed -- along with the computer industry in general -- the division bled money. As a result, the brand was sold last year to Japan Industrial Partners, which has been releasing a handful of devices in Japan using the Vaio brand.
Those in the States who have missed the design and performance of Vaio computers should be pleased to hear that the brand will be returning to these shores soon. With the release of its new Z Canvas Windows 8.1 tablet in Japan, Vaio has set up a US website and teased that the slate will be shipping in the fall here.
Considering the Z Canvas base model costs roughly the equivalent of $2,000, this re-introduction won't be yielding mass-market sales, but it will provide a competitor to the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 in the pro-level Windows tablet field. For its Japanese configurations, the Vaio comes with a beefy Intel Core i7-4770HQ, 8GB or 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and a 2,560x1,704 12.3-inch display. Like its Microsoft rival, it includes a built-in kickstand, stylus, and a detachable keyboard. A Surface Pro 3 with similar specs runs $1,549, but the i7-4650U processor will be less powerful, and its screen is slightly smaller at 12 inches.
If Vaio offers the same hardware for its US re-entry, you'll be able to choose a configuration with twice the solid-state storage and one that doubles the RAM and offers 1TB spread across a pair of SSDs. That top-end model in Japan has a price that's equivalent to over $3,000 -- the kind of crazy pricing that the new company has apparently inherited from Sony along with the Vaio name.