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(Japanese Site)

  • PC Makers to Counter Sony in Summer Sales Campaigns
  • May 29, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Sony Corp., which has maintained brisk sales of its notebook PCs, will be under a strong counterattack from competitors in Japan�s upcoming summer PC sales campaigns.
    Many personal computer makers will market new models to compete with Sony's popular B5-size notebook PC, the Vaio PCG-505 Series.

    All the new models feature a 20mm-25mm thin look by using magnesium alloy instead of plastic for the body unit and refined AV equipment-like designs.

    Sharp Corp. will market on June 6 the Mebius PJ, which is 21.2mm thick and weighs only 1.37kg. Its price, 385,000 yen (US$2,800), is expensive compared with Sony�s Vaio PCG-505, but it has a 11.3-in. thin film transistor-liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) and a 3.2GB hard disk. The Sony product has a 10.4-in. TFT-LCD and a 2.1GB hard disk.

    NEC Corp. also is expected to introduce a newly designed thin notebook PC.

    Toshiba Corp. is not likely to introduce a similar computer in time for the summer sales battle. But according to vice president Tetsuya Mizoguchi, the company is "studying the possibility of introducing a well-designed thin notebook-type PC."

    Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. also is adopting the magnesium alloy look.

    The PCG-505 and other thin metallic notebook PCs will be featured in the summer sales campaigns of volume retailers.

    However, some makers are not interested in coming up with models to compete directly with Vaio.

    "No matter how well they say the PCG-505 is selling, the scale of the market for B5-size notebook PCs is still small, and we don't intend to fight a serious battle there," a Fujitsu spokesman said.

    There is no talk of such a plan from IBM Japan Ltd., which is already selling a popular series of B5-size notebook PCs.

    But the strategies of Fujitsu and other producers may change, depending on how the summer sales battle develops.

    The PCG-505 has been purchased by a wide range of users because of its "cool design," and thus more design-conscious models could be made to compete with Vaio. And that could help expand the market for B5 notebook type PCs. If that becomes a reality, the "cool" companies win be the winners.

    Related story : Sharp to Sell Thin Notebook PCs to Rival Sony's Vaio

    (Nikkei Personal Computing)

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    Updated: Thu May 28 17:20:04 1998