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Portables Sony Hardware

New VAIOs Made of Carbon Fiber 220

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-feel-pretty-so-pretty dept.
Shawnzyoo noted that Sony has released their new series of VAIO TX laptops. In order to make them stronger/lighter/thinner, they are now made of carbon fiber. No plans to release it in the US yet, so start learning Korean if you want this one.
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New VAIOs Made of Carbon Fiber

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  • Learn Korean? (Score:1, Interesting)

    No plans to release it in the US yet, so start learning Korean if you want this one.

    Are there people really walking around with the Korean version of Windows running on their laptops simply because they bought it in Korea? What's the Korean word for fdisk?
    • Are there people really walking around with the Korean version of Windows running on their laptops simply because they bought it in Korea? What's the Korean word for fdisk?
      I'd imagine it was a reference to the fact that you'd have to speak Korean to successfully order it from a Korean retailer/website, rather than language problems using the OS.

      • I'd imagine it was a reference to the fact that you'd have to speak Korean to successfully order it from a Korean retailer/website, rather than language problems using the OS.

        Isn't that what Babelfish is for?
        • by darkitecture (627408) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @10:22AM (#13826312)
          Isn't that what Babelfish is for?

          If you want to order a laptop and end up with six low-grade pairs of headphones and a guide to haircare written by Kim Jong-il, sure!

        • Re:Learn Korean? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by kromozone (817261) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @10:22AM (#13826315) Homepage
          Most Koreans can't understand anything babelfish says. It's complete unintelligible gibberish to them. Korean->English can be equally nightmarish. Most Koreans don't follow traditional rules for word separation, so the system can't figure out where the words end. In addition, hangul uses a very limited range of pronunciation whereas as its parent language, Chinese, has a variety of different inflections. As such, each Korean character has up to 50 or 60 different meanings. I can get by with most stuff, even technical documents, but talking to a University age student on the Internet is excruciatingly painful. It's like they all use some hyper-evolved form of leet-speak where you can't use spaces.
          • Most Koreans can't understand anything babelfish says

            So this is an entirely different Slashdot article now. Ask Slashdot: Can you successfully order a laptop from Korea without actually speaking Korean? I would like to see some of the creative solutions people come up with.
          • Re:Learn Korean? (Score:2, Informative)

            by highwind81 (862971)
            its parent language, Chinese

            errr... what makes you think that Chinese is the parent language of Korean? Chinese [wikipedia.org] is Sino-Tibetan language. Where as Korean [wikipedia.org] is considered to be unclassified, or Altaic language or language isolate.
            I hate ignorant people...
          • Re:Learn Korean? (Score:2, Interesting)

            by derfel (611157)
            Hangul is not the language, but the Korean alphabet. When you say "korean characters" maybe you mean "hanmoon", the korean version of Chinese characters. These have only one meaning and are used interchangably with their hangul'ized counterparts in writing. Hanmoon are very, very similar, to chinese characters, and also generally have only one meaning each. The hangul'ized versions are produced phonetically from the pronunciation of the hanmoon, and thus are just as understandable if you're speaking. Since
    • by Nuclear Elephant (700938) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @10:17AM (#13826286) Homepage
      The two biggest mysteries of the world: How morons get modpoints, and how a first post can get marked as redundant.
    • Re:Learn Korean? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ducleotide (656390) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @10:20AM (#13826299)
      the sony website [sonystyle.com] is taking pre orders, i'm guessing it'll be released in the US soon.
      • I already received a Japanese model (VGN-TX90S) through an importer, although they are no longer in stock.

        This machine is extremely fast once you consider its form factor, and has excellent heat dissipation properties. It's a true "laptop" computer.

        Being what it is, you won't use it to play many newer games, but the video card actually isn't bad at all.

        The integrated wireless capabilities are reasonably strong and never lose synchronization, as one would expect from a higher end Sony product.

        You're all prob
        • I pressed Submit instead of Preview, apparently.

          I was going to add a little about the weight (or lack thereof) of this computer. If it isn't sitting on a solid surface (i.e., a table), it will actually sway from side to side as you type. It really is very light.

          The chassis itself feels adequately sturdy, and none of the materials used seem like cop-outs. There aren't any doors sticking out that could break in the future. I was surprised that Sony didn't use a door with either the MemoryStick or SD(!) card r
  • Is korean easier to learn or something?
  • I am quite surprised the article didn't even touch on this, since Sony is a Japanese company. Would this really be released in S.Korea first ?
  • Drooling... I like the AV feature, which makes those laptops true replacement for portable DVD/CD players.
    • Re:One word... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LikwidFlux (924068)
      Except for the price concern. Not all people need the functionality of a laptop and would rather spend a grand less and get a cheap portable DVD player.....
    • The av feature is nothing new of course, my several year old laptop has that feature (minus the movie part, it dont have a dvd player though), the only thing new is the carbon fiber body
  • safe? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by donour (445617)
    Isn't carbon fibre both flammable as well as electrically conductive?
    • Isn't carbon fibre both flammable as well as electrically conductive?

      It was marketed on an upbeat as "planned obsolescence-friendly".
    • Re:safe? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CausticPuppy (82139) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @10:32AM (#13826395) Homepage
      Isn't carbon fibre both flammable as well as electrically conductive?

      If it was flammable, it would certainly be a very poor choice for constructing race cars.

      As for electrical conductivity, it wouldn't be any more of an issue than metal notebook casings which are already widely used.
    • Yeah but laptops have been made out of magnesium for nearly fifteen years now. Hasn't really been a problem.
  • It may make them lighter and stronger, but does it make them cooler and cheaper?
  • by Comatose51 (687974) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @10:08AM (#13826205) Homepage
    Carbon fiber is used fairly extensively in cycling and we've learned a few things about it. They have lower heat tolerance and abrasion resistance than metal. I'm not sure if those are qualities you want in a laptop which tend to get hot and rub against the table.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Early Thinkpads, starting with the Thinkpad 700c and including most 7-series models until the 770z, had carbon fibre cases as well as lids. It's strong and light, but metal inserts (like screw anchors) in carbon fibre tend to pop out easily with very little force. Overall, a well-designed ABS case is probably just as good at a fraction of the cost.
    • by blair1q (305137) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @10:28AM (#13826363) Journal
      All my PCs are coated in plastic.

      I for one welcome our carbon-fiber overshells.
    • CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic) is better thought of as a very strong plastic rather than a substitue for metal. Because plastic works fine as a laptop case, there should be no worries about carbon fiber.

      IMO, metal is the preferred material for laptop cases versus any plastic (carbon fiber reinforced or otherwise). While CFRPs have a higher tensile strength to weight ratio, they tend to be brittle. I would rather have a dent in the case than a crack.

    • I'm not sure if those are qualities you want in a laptop which tend to get hot and rub against the table.

      NOR a terrier... believe you me.
    • I looked at these about a month ago. Do you have any source for your info stating they will be available next week? All I get when I try to buy one is a "Preorder" offer that tells me "Shipping date not available. We will notify you by email when this product has shipped."

      Would love to get one, small lightweight laptops are the road warrior's best friend!
  • Was it written by a monkey?

    Comparing with other existing T series notebooks, these VAIOs become twice as strong in endurance and the weight, only in 1.24-1.26kg, 30%lighter than before. The display panel thickness is only 4.5mm. Their design and color is are also very special

    And that is half the article...

  • Keyboard is Korean (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dj-Zer0 (576280)
    Guys

    Maybe you need to fdisk and replace the keyboard.. or stick some stickers along to make the keys english. Not that you need to but makes it easier at times
    • by Barnoid (263111)
      Dude, have you ever seen a Korean keyboard? Probably not.
      It looks exactly as an English one, except that the Korean keys are printed in the lower right corner of the keys and it features an additional 'Korean/English' input mode key between Space and Alt Gr.

  • Besides the very cool carbon fiber case the TX also has an "AV mode" that allows users to play music without booting to MS Windows. Does anyone know what OS they're using for the AV mode and could it be replaced with a really thin version of GNU/Linux?

    It seems that other than Apple and IBM, Sony is one of the few companies that turn out real innovations in their laptops while others are happy with "paint on performance".

    • Re:"AV mode"? (Score:3, Informative)

      by jandrese (485) *
      If it's anything like the latest Asus motherboards, the whole media player thing is handled in the BIOS. All it does is turn on the sound card, set the mixer settings to something reasonable, and send a "play start" command to the CD-ROM. It doesn't need an OS because it's not doing anything sophisticated. The whole thing is probably 200 bytes or so, and most of that is the interface.
    • Does anyone know what OS they're using for the AV mode and could it be replaced with a really thin version of GNU/Linux?

      It may already be. I've seen other notebooks with this feature and I remember one was noted as being Linux (Samsung?).

      It seems that other than Apple and IBM, Sony is one of the few companies that turn out real innovations in their laptops while others are happy with "paint on performance".

      Sony certainly did not innovate that idea. It's been around for a while now and my only 2 month old VA
  • by asadodetira (664509) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @10:11AM (#13826234) Homepage
    I'd like to point out that using carbon fibers or nanotubes in consumer electronics has electrical advantages. Using a conductive filler you can achieve electromagnetic interference (EMI) protection or electrostatic dissipation (ESD). Other conductive fillers such as carbon black or metallic powders would work but due to the small aspect ratio of the particles they require large amounts, and this degrades the mechanical properties of the polymer. Some more infomration here http://www.patagon.8m.com/equations/cnt.html [8m.com]
    • Normally plastic electronic casings are painted for this very reason, and not filled. Sometimes this is an external paint, but very often the paint is applied to the inside of the case. The paint protects against electromagnetic interference so they can make the plastic out of the cheapest low-density stuff they can find.
  • Oh man... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shanep (68243) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @10:11AM (#13826235) Homepage
    I just dropped $5k AU on a VAIO VGN-A49GP about 2 months ago. I bought it for the spectacular display (17" 1920x1200), but I am a little disappointed with it feeling a little flimsy after not much use. Even the silver paint on the palm rests is already wearing off and showing the black plastic underneath.

    Metal or carbon fiber would have been nice, especially at this price point and size.
    • I just dropped $5k AU on a VAIO VGN-A49GP about 2 months ago. I bought it for the spectacular display (17" 1920x1200), but I am a little disappointed with it feeling a little flimsy after not much use.

      I looked at that machine, and disliked the speaker quality (and no, using headphones is not the answer) - and the touchpad, of course. I've looked at Sony eveytime they have a new notebook come out, but have always decided to take a pass. My minimal criteria seems to have become that (at least one of the)

      • I looked at that machine, and disliked the speaker quality (and no, using headphones is not the answer)

        Are you refering to the speakers which come with the included docking station? [sony.com] I think they sound fantastic for speakers you get with a notebook. I've been listening to some classical music via Internet radio stations and could not wait to have my GF hear it. It fills my room with such amazing (and loud) quality sound. I prefer headphones over speakers when I want really loud, good quality and excellent st
    • I bought a dell 9300 for the same reason (the 1920x1200 17" display). The display is gorgeous, and I'm happy to say I'm not having any problems with wear after roughly 7 months. It's heavy, though, and not due to the display. I wish somebody would sell a lightweight, large screen notebook. I don't need performance since I do all my computing on another machine, I just need the display. Would be nice if they offered a better keyboard, too. Mine wastes close to 3 inches side to side, but that's not as b
      • I bought a dell 9300 for the same reason (the 1920x1200 17" display).

        I wish I could find an external LCD with the same resolution, size and aspect ratio, so that I could have dual screen which fit well side-by-side.
  • Uh...what part is made of carbon fiber? Obviously the previously plastic shell, obviously not the circuitry. I expect this information hard to come by, but is there any other part made of carbon fiber? Fan blades? Possible, but unlikely. internal structural elements usually made of metal or plastic? Seems like something that might be overlooked (or not make much difference). Interesting that the images in the article don't have that usual carbon fiber look. I thought they would use this as a marketing thing
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This was out in Japan first - it's the Type T VAIO.

    http://www.jp.sonystyle.com/Style-a/Product/T/inde x.html [sonystyle.com]

    Depending on how good your Japanese is, they do say it is made of multi-layered carbon fibre.
  • With the perterbations in American science as of late, learning Korean, French, German, Spanish, Japanese or Austrailian all seem like good ideas for United Statians anyhow!

    ...ok, in order to appease the pro-American science folks (of whom I am one), and lower the flamable temperature of my post, the United States continues to create breakthroughs - it's just the barriers through which to break seem less and less scientific as of late.
  • by gantos (580678) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @10:36AM (#13826442)
    This AV mode button makes the instant Mode available in 12secs without any booting process.

    Is 12secs the new definition for "instant"?
    • Got me. Back in the Canon Cat days, instant was defined as 7 seconds, and I would've expected this number to decrease, not increase.
    • Not to mention, how is waking your computer from sleep, shutting down windows and booting into this 12 second "instant" mode faster than just opening the lid and using iTunes or VLC or WMP or what have you? What a stupid concept, what next "Oh we at AMI BIOS have integrated a convenient calculator and word processor, located under the Detect ATA Devices submenu." 5 seconds!
  • by poity (465672) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @11:01AM (#13826694)

    ASUS, one of Sony's main notebook manufacturers (Sony doesn't make their own laptops), already make use of carbon fiber chassis in some of their own ultraportable/thin-and-light models, which have been available in North America for a few years.

    One particular model I have is from their M6 series, which has since been replaced by their updated Z70 series, both with CF chassis.

    What's even better is that since ASUS notebooks aren't sold retail, they come at nearly half the price for similar functionality, performance, and aesthetic quality as a comparable Sony.

    Check out www.asus.com for online reseller links

  • Ever since the T20 most thinkpads have had carbon fiber re-inforced lids [wikipedia.org] and the T43/X41s [hothardware.com] have completely carbon re-inforced bodies.

    Drop a Thinkpad and a VAIO and I know which one my money is on...

    This is yet another story in the past year that makes me wonder if Slashdot really has just become an advertising venue, willingly, or through negligence.

  • they are now made of carbon fiber

    Is this my dream come true? Can I finally use my laptop as a tennis racket?
  • Vaio X505/CP (Score:3, Informative)

    by lewiz (33370) <purple@[ ]iz.net ['lew' in gap]> on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @12:30PM (#13827537) Homepage
    Not only are carbon fibre laptops not knew, neither are carbon fibre Vaios.

    Certain Vaio X505 models have carbon fibre models, including the X505/CP, which I am typing on right now. I think it's as much a gimmick as anything else, but it does look good.

    You can find out all sorts of 505 info at http://www.siliconpopculture.com/sonytr/viewtopic. php?t=3889&sid=6456be6419d0fc2b769d268570aaeae1 [siliconpopculture.com] which is an interview with a lot of the designers. The X505 is sort of like what Yamaha did with the NS-1000M monitors way back when -- threw money to make the best/smallest monitors/laptop. I still have no idea how many got shipped but I've not seen more than one or two in use in England.

    Some good photos are available at http://www.dynamism.com/x505/index.shtml [dynamism.com]
  • Am I wrong, or did they get Ms. Portman to pose [mobilemag.com] with the new laptop?
  • Can you build a space elevator out of them?
  • IBM Laptops, the most renowned in the industry, have already been using carbon fiber, but not for their entire cover. The top portion of the X41 Tablet is cased in a magnesium composite, while the bottom is cased in titanium reinforced carbon fiber.

    I actually had friend do investigation work at a company to find out which laptops can sustain a drop of 'x' feet, and the top 2 laptops were IBMs (i think a T-series and an X-series). Other contestants included Panasonic's Toughbook, Sony, Dell, Apple, etc.

    Howev

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