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Circuit Breaker

Sony now has to compete against VAIO's new Android phone

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Et tu, Vaio?

The Vaio Phone A
Image: Vaio

Sony sold off its PC-focused VAIO division back in 2014, but the brand lived on under new management. Now, it’s come back to haunt the tech giant in the mobile market, with a new Android-powered VAIO handset announced today — the VAIO Phone A.

This isn’t the first VAIO mobile we’ve seen. That would be the VAIO Phone Biz, announced in February last year. The Phone Biz and Phone A have pretty much identical looks and specs (including a 5.5-inch HD screen, 3GB of RAM, and a midrange Snapdragon 617 processor), but while the Phone Biz was powered by Windows 10, the Phone A runs what looks to be stock Android. That means it competes much more directly with Sony’s own phone business, which accounts for 12 percent of the mobile market in Japan, second place behind Apple (and its 47 percent market share).

The rear of the VAIO Phone A (or is it the VAIO Phone Biz?)
Image: VAIO

Not that the Phone A looks like much of a threat, even to Sony’s stagnant Xperia line. The only change compared to the Phone Biz is that the Phone A supports dual SIM cards. In marketing shots used on the Phone A’s homepage, VAIO hasn’t even bothered to change the UI from Windows 10. If you want to see some pictures of the Phone A in the flesh, head over to Engadget Japan for a closer look, but don’t expect this phone to go on sale outside of Japan.