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Sony unveils Vaio L series desktop PCs

No word on UK launch timing

Sony yesterday unveiled its mid-year PC line-up for Japan, including the Vaio L desktop series.

The line consists of 41 models. The Blu-ray Disc-based machines that are expected to go on sale in the middle of this year were not included.

The Vaio L desktop machines are all-in-one models in which the computer circuitry is built behind the monitor so the whole thing looks similar to a flat-panel television.

Sony debuted two main types: the LA series has a 19in widescreen display and wireless keyboard and the LB series has a 15.4in widescreen display and attached keyboard. The keyboard on the latter model is attached to the main body on hinges just under the display and can be folded up to cover most of the display when not in use. This is reminiscent of the Vaio W and M machines that Sony has sold in the past.

The LA machines are available in two hardware configurations. Both include a TV-recording function, 512MB of memory and a 200GB hard-disk drive. They differ in the choice of processor: one features an Intel Core Duo T2300 processor and the other an Intel Celeron M 420 processor. The basic configuration for the LB machines has Celeron M 420 processor, 512MB of memory and an 80GB hard-disk drive - but no TV-recording function.

The Intel Core Duo LA system will cost around ¥250,000 (about £1,210), the Celeron M-based LA PC will cost ¥220,000 (£1,065) and the LB machine will cost ¥180,000 (£870). All three will be available in Japan from 22 April. Sale of the products overseas is still under consideration, said Sony.

None of the 41 systems supports the Blu-ray Disc format that a group of companies led by Sony is championing as a replacement for DVD for high-definition movies. Sony said at the CeBit show in Germany last month that it hopes to put Vaio desktop and laptop computers with Blu-ray Disc support on sale worldwide in the middle of this year. Today the company said the machines would be available in the US in the "early summer" and wouldn't comment on a launch time for other markets.


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