Sony is reentering the European PC market with a range of systems is considering Brussels for its desktop products headquarters and production centre.
According to reports from Tokyo, Sony will come to Europe with its Vaio PC range which include the Tower and the 505 SuperSlim Notebook.
A Sony spokesperson confirmed the company plans "to launch [PCs] in Europe in 1998 to 1999".
Sony withdrew from the global PC marketplace in the 1980s and returned in the US in late 1996. Vaio was launched in the US last summer.
The company keeps a tight lid on production, even for the Japanese domestic market, and Japanese reports estimates Sony's total PC sales in Japan are only around 100,000.
The Vaio portable is less than an inch thick and weighs under three pounds. It comes with a 200MHz Pentium processor, a 90 per cent sized keyboard, a 2.1Gbyte hard drive, a built-in modem, plus audio-visual functionality.
It is the audio-visual features which generate the most interest, indicating Sony's real target is not the cut throat PC space, but the emerging home and business markets for multimedia and digital devices.
Last November Sony Electronics announced a collaboration with PictureVision to deliver Sony?s Image Station on Photo Net, an Internet based imaging service.
Jim Hollingsworth, vice president of marketing, multimedia products for Sony Information Technologies of America (ITA), described the development, launched this month, as: "The next stage in Sony?s digital imaging strategy [which] encompasses the convergence of digital still and video cameras, digital photo printers, personal computers, add-on peripherals and the Internet."
Similarly Sony has struck deals recently with Sun Microsystems on Java and with Microsoft. The Sony Personal Technology Experience roadshow, sponsored by Microsoft last December, showcased the Vaio Tower and notebooks, displays and peripherals, along with Microsoft?s Internet and imaging software. Both companies confirmed last quarter their collaboration on digital products for the home market.
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