If there’s an industry that’s insanely difficult for most companies to enter, it’s got to be the smartphone market.
It’s an industry that’s already saturated with much-loved brands and handsets that have a clearly established fan-base. A fan-base that would often see switching to a new device as a betrayal. So when VAIO announced they were making a new handset, which would put them in direct competition with their former owners Sony (who still have a minority stake and sell VAIO products through their store) it raised a few eyebrows. After all, as Microsoft has found out recently, the smartphone industry is a tough nut to crack even with huge financial backing.
For VAOI’s first phone, they are keeping it simple and aiming at the middle-of-the-range rather than reaching for the stars. It will be sold only in Japan initially, and will retail for just over $400, making it very reasonably priced.
Despite having no input from Sony, it looks a teeny, tiny bit like a Sony phone if we’re being honest. At a glance you could certainly mistake it for some of the Xperia range handsets, it’s only on closer inspection when you see a solitary VAIO logo displayed below the screen that you learn it’s nothing to do with Sony. At 7.95mm thick, it’s one of the slimmest phones on the market, but this slimness hasn’t come at the expense of the battery which is a healthy 2,500mAh.
It features a 1.2Ghz quad-core processor which although it won’t set the world alight, is good enough for this end of the market. It’s screen is 5 inches and has a 720p display. It has an impressive 2gb of RAM, which means it should boot up and perform very quickly. The operating system is Android 5.0 Lollipop. Which the processor and RAM combined should be able to run quite comfortably.
Internal memory will be 16GB, which will be more than enough for most users. However, there’s also a MicroSD slot to install up to 64GB worth of additional memory, bringing the total up to a possible storage capacity of 80GB, which should be enough for everyone.
One of the strongest features are the two cameras. At the front is a 5 megapixel camera, and at the rear is a 13 megapixel camera, which is equal to many top-of-the-range handsets.
So with VAIO’s first foray into the market, they’ve managed to set out there intentions to make a reasonably priced phones that should function well. It’s not going to cause too much excitement in the tech world but there’s no reason why it can’t do well. As previously mentioned – for now at least – the phone will only be available to the Japanese market. However, there’s some speculation that it might be an OEM model, manufactured for VAIO by another manufacturer, due to its striking resemblance to the Panasonic Eluga U2, so it’s possible that it could be re-branded under a new name and sold in other territories. Although it may also be the case that VAIO are contracted to not compete with Sony outside of Japan in the smartphone market as a condition of last year’s sale.