VAIO Corporation was formed when Sony sold its laptop business, but now the new company is entering a product category in which Sony still remains: smartphones. The VAIO phone was announced today through Japanese MVNO B-mobile, which is pricing it to move: you’ll pay ¥3,980 (about $33) a month for the hardware plus voice service and data.
It's nearly identical to the Panasonic Eluga U2
The phone itself is a mid-range affair: there’s a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, a 5-inch 720p display, and a 13-megapixel camera. It’s 7.95mm thick and runs Android 5.0. The phone looks a lot like a Nexus 4, with a glass back panel and staid black front, but Japanese site Blog of Mobile points out that it's near-identical to a Panasonic handset available in Taiwan called the Eluga U2.
The VAIO phone will almost certainly never make it to the US, and even in Japan, there’s little to set it apart unless you have nostalgia for the brand and want to save some money over offerings from the big three carriers. But it’s intriguing to note VAIO’s entry into the market nonetheless, as speculation rumbles over whether Sony’s own smartphones have a future.