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Sony launches 0.4in thick notebook

Portable desktop too

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Just when you thought the notebook had become the ultimate in desktop PC portability was the Sony this week unveiled the Vaio PCV-P101, a slimline and remarkably Apple-like portable desktop computer.

Actually, the PCV-P101 effectively

is

a notebook - just one mounted with the 1280 x 768 widescreen 17in display facing the user, LCD screen-fashion. The keyboard is stored flat against the screen and folds down ready for use. Unlike a typical laptop, however, the PC's internals are mounted in the screen half of the clamshell, rather than under the keyboard. There's even an optional battery you can fit.

Speaking of internals, there's alas not much to shout about. The PCV-P101 is fitted with a 1.6GHz Mobile Celeron, 256MB of PC133 SDRAM, a 40GB hard drive and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo optical drive. The graphics acceleration comes courtesy of the Intel i830 chipset the machine uses. This is definitely a machine for the design conscious rather than the power user.

It does, however, have a real-time MPEG 2 encoder, making it ideal for TiVO-style personal video recording. Though why Sony figures a 40GB hard drive is sufficient for such a role and storing OS, apps and data is anyone's guess.

The whole shebang weighs 7.5kg (16.5lb) without the battery, so it's no lightweight. The machine is carried by a metal bar which encircles the computer as both handle and stand. With the keyboard folded up, the device measures 47.6 x 38.9 x 18.4cm (19 x 15.5 x 7.4in).

The PCV-101 goes on sale in Japan on 22 November for a whopping ¥180,000 ($1664).

Notebook

Sony also unveiled a superslim notebook based on Intel's Centrino platform. And when we say 'superslim', we mean it. The Vaio PXG-X505 is less than half an inch thick - 0.4in (1cm). At the back it's 0.8in (2.1cm). It weighs 825g (1.8lb).

The slim shell packs in a 1GHz Pentium M; i855GM chipset (which also provides graphics acceleration); 512MB of DDR SDRAM, 64MB of which is used for video memory; 20GB hard drive; and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi card. Naturally enough, there's no built-in optical drive, though a variety of types are available as accessories.

The screen is a 1024 x 768 10.4in TFT.

Interestingly, while the PXG-X505's internals are modern, it's design is something of a throwback. Like laptops of yore, the Sony's keyboard is mounted at the front of the base rather than the rear. In place of the usual touchpad, the machine uses an IBM-style microjoystick.

Two X505 models - the P and the SP, the latter only available direct from Sony - go on sale in Japan on 6 December for ¥299,800 ($2772) and ¥349,800 ($3235), respectively. ®

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