updated 02:45 am EST, Sat January 10, 2009
1st look-Sony P-series
First look: Sony at CES announced the VAIO P, which was on display and garnering interest from huge crowds milling around the Central Hall of the 2009 CES show. The notebook features an 8-inch LED-backlit screen and weighs in at 1.4-lbs, with an Atom 1.33 GHz processor and 2GB of RAM. The notebook size is comparable to a letter-sized envelope, just 9.6-inches wide by 4.7-inches deep and measuring only .78-inches high, with four color choices including black, white, red and green. The device runs on the Vista platform and offers an integrated GPS receiver with voice navigation. Wireless connectivity options include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11 B, G and N, along with wireless EVDO technology for Verizon's network.
According to Sony representatives, the chassis was designed around the keyboard and lead to an ultra-wide design. The keyboard itself was redesigned with less-used keys slimmed down while heavily-used keys are larger in proportion. In limited use, typing was somewhat hit-or-miss using the demo units at the Sony booth; a Sony representative who had used the device for about a week said she found it to be easy to use for typing after a day of adjusting to the keys.
The P-series offers a built-in trackball that seemed jumpy during first-time use,although the representative managed well when demonstrating features. The left- and right-click buttons were extremely small for medium sized hands and easy to miss, placed right at the front edge of the notebook. Two small buttons directly to the right of the right/left-click button provide unique features; the inner control launches a split-screen mode while the outer button launches a quick-boot of a Linux-based Cross Media Bar media interface (not unlike that from the PlayStation 3) and then switches between the shell and Vista.
The 8-inch screen offers a 1600x768 resolution and supports an external screen via an attachable dongle with a VGA output, up to 1600x1200. The computer also includes a built-in microphone, speakers and a .3-megapixel "motion eye" webcam. Sony expects shipping to begin in February, although customers currently can place pre-orders. The P-series will ship for $900 (60GB hard disk), $1,200 (64GB SSD) and $1,500 (128GB SSD).