updated 09:25 am EDT, Wed September 10, 2008
Sony VAIO AW in US
Quickly following up on a Japanese launch, Sony today brought the VAIO AW to the US. The notebook is Sony's largest yet and is targeted at photo and video editors, both amateur and professional, through its special display: the 18.4-inch LCD outputs at a 16:9 aspect ratio, 1920x1080 resolution that both fits HD video natively and generates color accuracy not normally found on notebook displays. Like the Japanese version, the stock LCD is already video-friendly at 104 percent of the NTSC color range, while an optional panel covers 137 percent and accurately portrays the Adobe RGB color space used by some photographers.
The notebook has the requisite HDMI for video output but has the unusual touch of a dedicated CompactFlash slot that lets some owners of digital SLRs load photos directly without using an adapter. Sony goes as far as to preload Adobe Lightroom to give these photographers a quick start on managing shots.
Sony is unusually cautious about providing specifications but confirms that the American VAIO AW will use Centrino 2-era hardware but also ranges both lower and higher than the Japanese version. A Blu-ray combo drive model at $1,600 can read but not write the HD format while keeping DVD and CD burning; more advanced versions support Blu-ray burning, the more advanced LCD, and faster processors or storage. A flagship AW180 model is known to come with a 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo, a Blu-ray burner, and dual 64GB solid-state drives in a RAID stripe that are accompanied by a 500GB rotating hard drive for bulk storage. Up to 1TB of hard drive space is an option.
All versions of the AW should be ready later in September.