updated 10:15 am EDT, Tue June 26, 2007
Sony on Tuesday unveiled Backstage, a new addition to the company's Sony Style retail shops that adds in-store support for the first time. Unofficially taking its cue from the Genius Bars at Apple stores, the service supports both technical help and consultations: owners of VAIO desktops or notebooks can take them in for diagnosis or part replacements, but can also help customers transition to a new PC both before and after money has changed hands. Customers can get help choosing the right system, Sony says, and also have the choice of transfering data from an old PC (up to 100GB), installing RAM upgrades, or performing general system maintenance.
Prices for the services are unknown, though out-of-warranty service will be an option for an extra fee. Backstage is available as of this week at Sony Style outlets in New York City's Manhattan store, as well as New Jersey-based stores in Edison, Garden City, and Paramus; stores in Boston, Providence (Rhode Island), and White Plains (New York) will also receive the treatment by next week. A total of 15 stores should have the option by the end of 2007.