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Sony Releases Smallest VAIO Yet 201

ephidryn writes "Sony Corporation has released their new VAIO laptop in Japan. The PCG-U1 is even smaller than their previous sub-notebook the C1 PictureBook. Measuring in at 7.3" x 5.5" x 1.4" and weighing a mere 1.8lbs the 6.4 inch XGA screen does 1024x768. The laptop uses a Transmetta Crusoe TM5800 processor and can house up to 384 megs of RAM." As a Picturebook owner, I can't imagine how a keyboard any smaller can still be usable, but this little guy offsets that with thumb controls to make input easier.
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Sony Releases Smallest VAIO Yet

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  • Palmtop? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Defender2000 ( 177459 ) <> on Friday October 18, 2002 @02:32AM (#4476604) Journal
    That's small. Really small. I'd call it more of a palmtop than a laptop. Looks like they've sucessfully breed a palmpilot/laptop hybrid.
  • by CMU_Nort ( 73700 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @02:32AM (#4476608) Homepage
    What I'd really like to see is a PC laptop in an iBook form factor. Where are all the cheap smaller laptops? This is fina and small, but it'll probably cost like $2000, which isn't cheap.

    • by Bishop923 ( 109840 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @03:15AM (#4476763)
      Classic Case of Cheaper, Smaller, Faster: Pick Any two.

      Unfortunately the big PC companies are Driven by the fact that the Masses think "more Ghz == Better!" so Faster is required. So you now get to pick between an expensive, but small and fast notebook, or cheap and fast, but large laptop.
      • by unger ( 42254 )
        > Classic Case of Cheaper, Smaller, Faster: Pick Any two.

        this also seems to produce a somewhat accurate result by picking two of the same:

        cheaper + smaller = slower
        cheaper + faster = bigger
        cheaper + cheaper = slower + bigger
        smaller + faster = expensive
        smaller + smaller = slower + expensive
        faster + faster = bigger + expensive
      • These new VAIOs really weren't too expensive when I was in Tokyo this summer. They cost about 1100 US, and were full featured PCs. I almost bought one, but didn't have the resources. I found a few used in Shinjuku for as low as 800. If only I had more money....
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Try the Compaq N200 (evo) 700mhz/1q92ram/20 gig and has a 10.2inch screen
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 18, 2002 @04:05AM (#4476886)
      Check out the Fujitsu S Series. The picture puts it to shame, but in the real world, it looks like the pc equivalent of an ibook. Beautiful. Cheaper model runs 1499$ straight from Fujitsu and of course can be beat elseware. se
    • Price: $1700.00

      I don't know how true this will be, but it's certainly on par with previous picturebook models (the MSRP of which ranges between $2,100 to $2,400 which translates to about $1,800 on the street).

      Now if you told me it had a micro-thin DVD player in it, I'd own one tomorrow, but it doesn't.
    • by curiosity ( 152527 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @08:35AM (#4477508) Homepage
      I recently bought a Sony VAIO SRX - not quite as small as the PictureBook, but still smaller than just about anything else out there (there are a few in its class - Fujitsu has a nice offering with built-in DVD drive). I recommend you take a look at it if you're looking for a small form-factor without sacrificing usability. It's got a usable keyboard, and a touchpad (pointing sticks drive me nuts - otherwise I was really looking at the picturebook). The battery life on the standard battery is about 4 hours or so for normal usage, and the 10.4 inch screen (1024x768) is very easy to see and read. Built-in Wi-Fi is the best thing since sliced bread - I don't even use my Home Theater PC anymore for quick internet stuff - it's faster to flip open the laptop and use the wireless connection from the couch, and I don't have to fumble around with a bunch of remotes.

      Performance is good for business use - it's got integrated Intel 815 graphics (bleh), an 850MHz mobile PIII, and 256MB of RAM standard. I paid $1300 at Best Buy for the SRX-87, with a $100 rebate. The 87 is the now-discontinued model, so they are (or were) dirt cheap. The only difference between the 87 and the current line seems to be that the new ones come with a CDRW/DVD Combo Drive - I got a DVD drive. There's no docking station or port replicator - the drives are i.Link (Firewire)

      Also, it mostly runs Linux, according to []

  • It's too big/small (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @02:33AM (#4476612) Homepage
    I suppose some people would like it, but I don't usually carry around a briefcase. So for me, this PC is too big to carry in my pocket, but too small to fit the features I want in a main machine. Sorry Sony, I'll stick with the full-sized Vaio I bought last year. :-)
    • I have a similar stance about pda/laptop devices, but mine is more like this:

      "If it isn't small enough to fit in my pocket, then it may as well be as big as my backpack."

      The 'My Little VAIO' appears to be in the wrong size-bracket for the size to actually matter. You're gonna have to put it in some sort of bag anyway, unless you expect to carry it around in your hands all day. The only reason to recommend a device of this size is if your backpack is already full of other things, and you only have enough room left for a tiny laptop :)
      • "If it isn't small enough to fit in my pocket, then it may as well be as big as my backpack."

        Do you actually use a laptop frequently, though? I used to think like that too, until I started going on trips where I had to use a laptop throughout a conference, for example. I borrowed a friend's HP OmniBook 500 for the first trips - it's a few years old, but was the "ultra-slim" model at the time - 1 inch thick, probably 4 pounds without the docking station, 8 pounds with it. That's actually a lot of weight dragging on your shoulders, and it was pretty unwieldy to whip it out every time I had to plug in and check my messages at the office. And the battery life sucked - 1.5-2 hours, even though it claimed 3-5 hours. I can't imagine how people deal with those monsters they call laptops nowadays. They're bigger than the old Zenith brick I used to have, from around 1989 or so! After dragging the Omnibook through Atlanta recently, I went out and bought a Sony VAIO SRX, and it was definitely a good decision. I didn't realize how miserable it was lugging the HP around until I got the VAIO. It's about the size of an 8x10 sheet of paper, so I can take it to meetings now at work. It's small enough to open discretely without making a big scene just to take some notes or look up a document (the built-in Wi-Fi helps).

        I think there's a lot to be said for "in-between" devices like the PictureBook or a slim laptop. If it's small enough to carry in your hand without being a burden, you're much more likely to use it for business purposes, though I agree for personal use, pocket-size is the way to go.
  • OLD news (Score:5, Informative)

    by neuroking ( 204934 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @02:34AM (#4476618)
    This has been out for MONTHS (I have one I got 2 months ago).

    Check out the NEW version, the U3, here:

    Wow, that was teh most out of date story I've seen on /. ever...
    • Re:OLD news (Score:5, Funny)

      by KNicolson ( 147698 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @02:44AM (#4476663) Homepage
      Wow, that was teh most out of date story I've seen on /. ever...

      You've not been here long, have you?

      • Re:OLD news (Score:5, Funny)

        by BoBaBrain ( 215786 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @03:21AM (#4476782)
        Wow, that was teh most out of date story I've seen on /. ever...

        Typical newbies. They copy the site's style perfectly, but miss the overall philosophy entirely, or as we say 'round here:
        TN. Thay cp teh sites stile pfcly, but miss teh overal fillosofy. All your base are belong to us.
      • Hehe, just about 4 years. I remember looking at the U1 at least a year and a half ago (maybe it was a preview). I've seen some old stuff here, but it's usually just rehash of some odd link that was 136 comments deep, and somehow everyone knew it was there.

        "OMG! Everyone knows this! I was in that message Re:Re:Re:monsters eat monkeys was:where is my underwear (Re: A beowolf cluster of naked Natalie Portmans) - grits in my pants" With the link some random letter in the middle.
    • That's an interesting page... it said something about horse mackerel and a guy in a palomino jacket?
    • Yes this is old I know that it has been out for like 6 months...
    • Re:OLD news (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Nah, it's not out of date until the *next* time the story is posted.
  • by molywi ( 136881 )
    Sony has always made really cool electronics. No other company in the world has such talented designers and engineers. Their products are not only top of the line, but also beautiful.
    I wish I had enough money to make my house strictly Sony.
    • Re:Sony (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sandcastle ( 563801 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @03:58AM (#4476871)
      I used to think like this. Lately they've let their game go IMO. They are certainly often on the upper end of the scale compared to other mass market / generic brands. You know, the ones that do everything. However they really aren't the best at anything anymore either. At least they have started to realise that their strength is often in just relatively cheaply producing others good designs (the Sony/Ericsson partnership?). Don't even get me started on the memory-stick nonsense! Why push a proprietary standard so hard when it has no (read few) benefits compared to what's already available? The last thing I want is to be locked into a Sony Digital Camera, just so the memory stick slot in my laptop will finally be useful! That coupled with the whole refusal to play CD-R's in most of their home hi-fi/DVD or car CD players has tipped me from your point of few (I wish I had a Sony everything!) to my current view - If someone does it any better, or even as well but without this vendor lock-in non-sense, then I'll avoid Sony when I can.
    • by NewtonsLaw ( 409638 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @04:49AM (#4476993)
      Sony used to make some of the best consumer electronics around. The Sony TV, video and audio gear I bought 10 years ago was superb.

      Unfortunately, the Sony TVs, VCRs and audio gear I've bought in the last two or three years has been absolutely awful!

      They seem to have exchanged quality and performance for features and gadgets.

      My 1990-model Sony VCR gave a markedly better picture than the 2000 models I bought to replace it just three years ago. The difference was so marked that I actually took the first unit back thinking it was faulty.

      Not only that but the VCR bought in 1991 gave almost 10 years of perfect service -- one of the units I bought in 2000 has already died and isn't worth fixing. And I'm not talking the cheapest machine in the range - I'm talking about the more expensive units.

      Likewise the Sony TV I bought back in 1991 is still chugging away and delivering a great picture. The one I bought three years ago now has an inferior picture with poor geometry and what appears to be the sound subcarrier affecting the picture on some lowband channels (again I returned the first one I bought unit thinking it was faulty). What's more, it has just developed an intermittent fault.

      When I asked the Sony service techs they admitted that the consumer electronics (TVs, VCRs, audio) that Sony sellings today simply isn't engineered to the same quality standards as it was a decade ago.

      Up until recently all my consumer electronics were Sony but I've decided that it's simply not worth paying a premium price for quality that's no longer there. The DVD player I bought a couple of months ago is a no-name Chinese unit that works superbly and was just half the price of the cheapest Sony equivalent. Even if it breaks in 18 months it will still have a lower total cost of ownership than Sony's gear (based on recent experience).

      It strikes me that Sony have started resting on their laurels. This, plus their atttiudes to things such as DRM have made me an ex-Sony advocate.

      As ye sow, so shall ye reap!
  • by QuaZar666 ( 164830 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @02:35AM (#4476623)
    if memory serves me correctly this was discused some time ago PCG-U1 []
  • Well, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ( 555899 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @02:35AM (#4476624)
    When you get that small, you might as well go for a PDA. I'm sure the battery would last longer (where do they PUT it in that thing?!) and those small devices have evolved to be the most convienent for their size. That thing looks like it's running a regular version of windows, and no matter how high that screen resolution goes (doesn't look big) everything is still going to be way to small to make big use of.
  • My god (Score:1, Funny)

    by nugneant ( 553683 )
    Sooner or later, the computers will have to occupy inverse space in order to keep up with progress. And then how can the geeks build them in stuffed animals and desks and corpses and stuff? Since, obviously, stuffed animals, desks, human bodies, et al., are inferior technology and not able to be easily miniaturized.
  • External monitor. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CMU_Nort ( 73700 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @02:36AM (#4476630) Homepage
    What's nice is that while the built in screen is limited to 1024x768, it has the ability to pump out 1600x1200 to an external monitor.

  • mouse (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lovebyte ( 81275 ) <> on Friday October 18, 2002 @02:37AM (#4476636) Homepage
    It seems the mouse and buttons are above the keyboard which is strange but could be practical.
    I used to have a picturebook in my previous job and I loved it. I have small fingers so it the keyboard size was not problem and I also have very good view so the size of the screen was not a problem either. And linux runs perfectely well on the old crusoe-based sony picturebook! (Not like on my current dell C400)
  • turning point (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Absoluttt ( 618527 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @02:39AM (#4476640)
    we're definitely at a turning point as far as miniturization vs. usability.. our toys / technology can only get so small before it becomes impractical to use. It will be interesting to see what is innovated on besides speed once this hurdle is passed. Per John Carmack we're almost at a similar point in video cards functionality wise.
  • Available? (Score:1, Redundant)

    by dirvish ( 574948 )
    Is it possible to get one here in the US? Usually Japan uses its own population as a test before selling anything to the US. Also there isn't nearly the market for really small stuff in the US.
    • Re:Available? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tgrigsby ( 164308 )
      >> Also there isn't nearly the market for really
      >> small stuff in the US.

      Son, put down the crack pipe and step away...

      I cite cell phones that store over a 100 phone numbers, play video games, act as a pager and a walkie talkie, allow you to browse the 'net and send/receive emails, and fit in your shirt pocket as proof that, in the U.S., smaller is better when you're talking about electronics.

      Heck, my birthday is coming up and I wouldn't refuse one as a gift...
      • In Japan they have the same phones...only they are half the size. They are also more expensive, but Japanese people seem to be willing to pay more for smaller things.
    • Re:Available? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Zarbuck ( 590310 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @03:01AM (#4476724)
      Yes go to []
  • But every VAIO I've used/seen has felt like a cheap hunk of plastic. A friend of mine bought one about a year ago, and within 3 months it had to be sent in for various parts breaking twice. I think they should focus on making these tiny suckers durable, I mean, with something that small, it's bound to find itself in undesirable situations.
    • But then again it's one of the big ones so there's probably a bit more room for a solid structure than in these tiny beasties.
    • by forii ( 49445 )
      My vaio picturebook (the small one) has been extremely durable. I've taken it all around the world in my backpack, opened it up to upgrade the hard drive (30 GB now), and left it all around the house to be bumped, skidded, and generally treated it about one notch less harshly than my cell phone, and all it has to show for it is some scrapes on the magnesium alloy case.
  • by kimba ( 12893 )
    I was in Japan in July for the IETF meeting there, and this was for sale then. I was very close to buying one until I realised my fingers were too big for the keys...
  • by 0WaitState ( 231806 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @02:43AM (#4476660)
    I made the mistake of buying a vaio assuming that the battery would be at least ballpark useable (eg. sales literature says 1-2 hours, I figure at least 1.25 hours doing text entry). Wrong--the wonderful BP1-A half-empty battery could barely keep the screen lit for 40 minutes.

    I ended up having to buy a decent battery (BP-71A) on ebay for $200 extra.

    Not a happy camper when people say Vaio.
  • Great.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by euxneks ( 516538 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @02:47AM (#4476673)
    Sdo now my fgat finfgers.. Will ptress even more ketys tjhan they needf to.
    • You wouldn't have that problem if you were typing the beginnings of phrases in Japanese and using that little wheel thing to select the Japanese words/phrases you want.

    • Re:Great.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by d-rock ( 113041 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @06:27AM (#4477193) Homepage
      Well, I actually like the idea. I don't have huge hands, but I'm not a small guy (6'4"). I used to have a Toshiba Libretto (even smaller) that was the best thing ever for me. I am currently a network engineer and I basically built a troubleshooting kit on the Libretto with RedHat: TFTP server, emacs for ACL editing, sniffers, analyzers, IDS, ROM images, configs, etc. It even had a serial port so I could console into routers,etc. So when we had problems at our offices around the country, instead of having to lug around a huge laptop I could just throw the little thing and a couple of cables in my backpack and head out. I really miss it. The keyboard may have been small, but I wasn't using it to type a novel.

    • "The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand please mash the keypad now."
  • U-Port? (Score:5, Funny)

    by chrysalis ( 50680 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @02:50AM (#4476678) Homepage
    The description includes :

    "1x Biology U-Port"

    What kind of beast is that?

  • Old news (Score:2, Informative)

    by ctar ( 211926 )
    My colleague here in Japan has had one of these for months...
  • It is a really small device and at first I wondered if it's too small to be usable for serious work.

    ..But then I remembered Nokia Communicator [] and I realized that even small devices can be very powerful tools.
  • Hmm. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Arcaeris ( 311424 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @02:55AM (#4476702)
    I know I read Japanese very poorly, but what I gather from this is:

    a) This came out April 1, 2002?
    b) Has shortcuts for use with the thumbs, called Thumbphrase.
    c) Has a Standby button to prolong battery life. At one touch, even.
    d) A zoom in button? I didn't get much of that section. I think you can change from 1024x768 to 800x600 with one push.
    e) It supports some wireless card from some company, 'cause I guess it has a PCMCIA slot. Well, they call it 'PC card slot.'
    f) It can have 802.11b compatibility with a Sony card.
    g) Connectivity between itself and a desktop through a port. I think ethernet. You can drag and drop file copy really easily. (Flying Pointer)
    h) Adobe Acrobat ebook crap.

    I hope that helps. And just asking... is there a Sony site in English that I just don't see?
    • Re:Hmm. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by scottme ( 584888 )
      You may find it more enlightening and certainly more amusing to read machine-translated Japanese, via Babelfish [].
    • Well, they call it 'PC card slot.'
      Isn't "PC Card" the new name for these devices?
      I seem to recall that there was a changeover in the industry about three years ago - for a while at least they were often called PC Cards.

      And there's more info about the U1 on TransMetaZone []

      • PCMCIA has gone the way of the buffalo.

        You (and I) are showing your(our)years by reffering to its old name.

        Now, I understand that PC card can mean ISA(yechh!), Microchannel(yechh!), PCI, PCMCIA, etc.

        but definitley with laptops PC card = PCMCIA.
  • by Centinel ( 594459 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @02:56AM (#4476708) Homepage
    The Fujitsu P2000 [] has one major advantage over Sony's PCG-U1: a built-in DVD/CD-RW Combo drive

    20GB, XP Home

    867MHz Crusoe(TM) TM5800 processor with LongRun(TM)
    Power Management
    10.6" wide-format SXGA TFT
    256MB memory
    20GB hard drive
    DVD/CD-RW Combo drive
    External USB 3.5" floppy drive
    Built-in multinational 56K4 V.90 modem
    Built-in 10/100 Ethernet
    Quickpoint pointing device with scroll button
    Microsoft® Windows® XP Home
    Model P2110, FPCM20091


  • by Linux Freak ( 18608 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @03:07AM (#4476741) Homepage
    Top ten ways Linux (and OSS) hackers can adapt to this keyboard:

    10. Cut down on those Starbucks Venti Moccha Frappucinos
    9. Make like a yakuza and chop-chop-chop your way to smaller fingers
    8. Develop appropriate mouse-gestures for your favorite language keywords
    7. Finger train to slim fingers with other than hjkl keys
    6. Stop hacking with this keyboard. You're violating the DMCA anyway
    5. Keyboard? Who needs a @#$(*&'s an Apache server!
    4. Don't buy it. Sony's the enemy this month. Er, I think.
    3. ... Profit!!
    2. Ssh in from your desktop via your XBox Linux via your Sony PS2 Linux box

    and the number one way Linux (and OSS) hackers can adapt to this keyboard:
    1. Take your fat ass out for a walk instead of that debugging session
    • or you could get a roll up keyboard [] to carry around with it. Another option is just to type one handed. If you can span the whole keyboard with one hand, why not? I do it with my 3com audrey's little IR keyboard, and that old-school GoType!/LandWare keyboard for the PalmIII (right before they came out with the sexy folding ones). It's not as fast as two handed touch typing, but it's not like your'e wirting a novel on this thing, right?

      I would like to see laptops, especially the ones like this where you probably don't get many ports, with Logitech or IR peripheral receivers built in. It can't take that much space in there.
  • To get them now, in the US: dynamism []

    Japan has such the coolest shit. :P Personally, I want the Panasonic they've (dynamism) got, as it has the cook hira/katakana keys. :)

  • Uhhh, what for? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by beowulf_26 ( 512332 ) <> on Friday October 18, 2002 @03:19AM (#4476776) Homepage
    Forgive me for being cynical, but I can't see many uses for something of that size. It seems to me to have all the functionality of a PC, while having all the UI woes of a handheld.

    Now, I can think of things like being a portable place to dump picture files, and *maybe* to take notes on if you have small enough fingers. Other than that, I can think of nothing. Would someone mind enlightening me as to why this uber-expensive gadget is useful?
  • Not so cool (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Notice it has no built-in wireless. You need to plug-in a PCMCIA wireless card with an external antena, which increases the footprint considerably. Personally, I hate external antennas, as they break very easily. IMHO, without wireless, the usability of one of these will be close to nil in about a year.
    • That so-called "wireless adapter with external antenna" is actually a device to connect you via a cellular telephone service. Ie. take your hot chick to a hot spring in Hakone while you are technically on-call from work and can access your servers from anywhere in Japan.
  • by jukal ( 523582 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @03:26AM (#4476794) Journal
    Does anyone have experience on what refresh rate / colors can you have achieve with the ATI Mobility Radeon-M 8MB in X? At quick glance this seems as the only possible big weak point of the device - atleast for me who is used to having too many terminals open and don't utililize the virtual desktops a lot :)
    • Ohh, and I ofcourse mean the external 1600x1200 resolution :)
    • Last i checked, LCDs don't really flicker, so you can run it at a lower frequency if you need to.
      My compaq armada is pretty old (PII 400 - okay, sorry, kinda old) and has a rage mobility agp with 8 meg, and windows seems content to let me crank it to 1600x1200, 24 bit, 75hz. BUT, this is me closing the screen and playing with it over VNC, cause i don't feel like moving the monitor plug over there. It may know that it isn't actually outputting video and say whatever it wants, but i somehow doubt that.
      Couldn't tell you about X right now, i'd think you should be able to get 24 bit.
  • by Frac ( 27516 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @03:33AM (#4476808)
    Why is this story reposted [] 5 months later?

    1. This submission's been stuck at the submission queue for a long, long time.
    2. dude, this is Slashdot. There's no reason for reposting old stories, they simply do.
    3. An experiment to test /. reader's long term memory. If no one notices, they'll start posting reviews of Redhat 5.2 on the next slow news day.
    4. Go pick up a newspaper tomorrow morning, it should say May 9th 2002. Congrats, the Beowulf cluster inside your Delorean finally did something.
    5. Michael's been the one making the Cowboyneal entries for the poll, and Cowboyneal unchecked Michael's name for stories (hey look a Cowboyneal reference that's actually a legit option!)
  • As the size of laptops become so small, how are we going to withstand the rising temperature of the processor boards, which are more and more sitting directly onto the base? The Sony Vaio models I have used, at full performance, literally burn your lap when kept for a long time. Is there no way out?
    Has anyone tried this yet?

  • I go to Japan twice a year. When I went in late April the PCG-U1 was out and I *so* wanted one, but it was about 150,000 yen and I didn't have the money.

    I swore when I went back (which was last week) that I would take enough money to buy a U1. However, I figured, since the U3 would be coming out about a week and a half after I left that the U1 would have got cheaper- not so- it was still 150,000 yen. They had 2nd hand ones in Sofmap (A big computer hardware shop), but they were like 120,000 which was a bit pricey for 2nd hand I thought.

    In the end I couldn't really afford one so I ended up buying a shitload of anime products, manga, a DVD burner (1/2 the price it would have been in the UK) and an expensive Go board instead.

    My brother has got a job in Japan starting next week though, so I will be able to get constant news from him about new Vaios and their prices.

    Sigh. Oh well.


  • by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @03:55AM (#4476860) Homepage
    I just had a flashback, there used to be some type of laptop where when you opened it up the keyboard would expand past the sides of the notebook to give you a larger more usable keyboard. Was it the old thinkpads? I forget. Anyways, I think that this Vaio could do with doing something like that because that keyboard is just rediculously small. I mean, if you're getting something that small you might as well give up and make it use a stylus like a PDA or one of those Fujitsu tablet computers because that would make it way more useful. The only problem I see with the expanding keyboard idea is that it would increase thickness and the whole vaio notebook line prides themselves on how thin they are and with this super small vaio that would matter the most. I think it's stupid really, you end up paying twice as much for that thing as you would for a larger, but faster, more flexible and really more USABLE regular sized laptop and the only advantage you get is that it's small (not even *that* small, most pants pockets couldn't fit it so you'll need a bag for it anyways!
  • by blixel ( 158224 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @04:37AM (#4476958)
    s a Picturebook owner, I can't imagine how a keyboard any smaller can still be usable

    Easy CowboyNeal. Loose a couple hundred pounds.
  • Fish to the rescue. (Score:3, Informative)

    by vidnet ( 580068 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @04:44AM (#4476977) Homepage
    From the babelfish []:

    The " bio U " and it was coAs for " bio U ", body size of approximately width 184.5× height 30.6 *1 x depth 139mm. Even in a state where the battery of attachment is installed approximately 820g. In the Windows XP Home Edition on-board type worldwide smallest * the *2 which actualizes most light weight . The compact, the stamina drive *3 of maximum approximately 4 hours is possible with the battery of attachment.

    *1 As for battery applied part 46.1mm.
    *2 As of April 1st of 2002, the SONY investigation.
    *3 Battery drive time differs depending upon usage condition and the like.

    While it had with the both hands you adopt the Mobile grip * style which can be operated lightly. You adhered to the arrangement of the button which it is easy to operate. In order to be able to operate the pointer smoothly, it turns, the ??????? which * you push and with the wide stick which attaches the dent, being can do operation with respect to the right arrangement. It arranges the left button and the right button which can do click operation with respect to the left. In addition, the software " ThumbPhrase which has input estimate conversion function (the sum phrase) " it can start it equips " the ThumbPhrase " button to direct. With " the ThumbPhrase " corresponding key and operation of the ???????, like the portable telephone speedy letter input is possible.

    " ThumbPhrase " corresponding key

    Stand-by button
    It equips the stand-by button which with one push becomes stand-by mode. If you use briskly, it can hold down the consumption of the battery. In addition, starting immediately from stand-by mode, it can use.

    In perusal of home page and when et cetera checking the mail, with ZOOM IN button picture enlargement * . You saw to be, information and small letter is indicated easyly to see. It can reset to also original size with the one button.

    * Resolution of liquid crystal display is set to the 1024×768 dot usually. When it expands indicates, resolution becomes the 800×600 dot. It indicates in all the picture territories with smoothing processing.

    " The AirH (AH-G10) " " of the DDI pocket it corresponds. Installing in the PC card slot of the substance, if you use, high-speed data communication of the 128kbps is possible. Because it corresponds to packet transmission, it is connected to the broadband pleasure easily without designating connection and cutting as the air.

    * Regarding " the AirH the inquiry
    * Proposal * area of utilization / tip of inquiry of service 0077-775 (free call) Acceptance time: Weekday / 9:00 - 18:00 earth / 9:00 - 17:00

    * Regarding data communication the tip of the inquiry 0077-7-157 (free call) Acceptance time: Weekday / 9:00 - 17:30 earth * day * holiday / 9:00 - 17:00 *
    Home page: Http: //

    It conforms to the standard IEEE802.11b system of the wireless LAN, the 2.4gHz wireless LAN PC card " of the Wi-Fi " certification being completed (the PCWA-C150S and selling separately) corresponds. Being the cable unnecessary, it actualizes the high-speed communication of the largest 11mbps, of the ADSL and the cable television circuit et cetera connection is possible to broadband. Installing the wireless LAN PC card, ahead going out if, wireless LAN access point such as coffee and hotel and station (the IEEE802.11b) the facility which is installed (the hot spot) with, it can enjoy the perusal of mail transmission and the home page. In addition, if the wireless LAN access point of selling separately (PCWA-A200) it installs in the home, from the place where we like in the house in Internet connected possibility. Other things bio * with using the network inside home, also it can exchange the data and it can share the printer.

    * Wireless LAN functional on-board biology or the biology which installs the wireless LAN PC card. nnected with the or the ethernet, bio * with with, the SONY original software " FlyingPointer which the file can be transmitted easily (the flying pointer)" attachment. When " the FlyingPointer " is started, way the file which we would like to send the picture is penetrated, the drug. The feather it grew, when the pointer " of the FlyingPointer ", appears in the desktop of the partner side, drop does the file is copied automatically. For example, from the main machine, copying the file to the " bio U ", when liking to bring up easily and the like, it is convenient.

    * To from the CD-ROM which belongs the " bio U ", it is necessary to install " the FlyingPointer ". The Windows XP Professional, the Windows XP Home Edition, it corresponds to the type which loads the Windows 2000 Professional, but as for use please go on customer himself responsibility.

    " The Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader (??? acrobatic * I - the book leader)", quality of the book and the high accuracy which reproduces design faithfully the software which can read the electronic book. In little time ahead going out, cartoon and the novel and the picture book et cetera can be enjoyed with the bio U. In addition, the page the ? also it is possible with the ??????? to come. " The bio U " original electronic book trial contents 8 types it has belonged.

    * It is possible to purchase the electronic book of eBook Reader correspondence with the book store sight on Internet.

  • While I like my Pilot and think these things are cool, they miss the point for me. I want something portable I can type stuff into. I don't care about portable multimedia (there are far less expensive devices for that) - I care about battery life and the ability to run emacs.

    If I could get something like the Psion7/Linux [] cheap, and it could boot into a 'real' emacs (ie anything that can do cc-mode, not just something with the same keystrokes) I'd be happy.

    Besides, on a keyboard that small, I reckon I could finally hold down escape-meta-alt-control-shift-windows-clover with one hand. :)
    • It's a nice device, and it should run emacs great, if you don't want the setup hassle finding all the right drivers the good folks at emperorlinux will ship it to you properly setup for a small fee I bet. But it's hardly cheap. Over $2k no matter how you get it.

      You can pick up a new iBook for about $1200, you get longer battery life and a better keyboard, emacs comes standard on OS X now, and you can wipe it and install Debian if you want anyway. Downside, of course, is that it's a bit larger, but it's still quite small really.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 18, 2002 @05:39AM (#4477083)
    If you really want to try a tiny Linux or FreeBSD notebook, get a used Libretto first - to be had for around $300 on eBay these days. These tiny palmtops are just cute as hell, they fit in your pocket, they even attract girls -- but they are very difficult to work with, even after you're used to the keyboard. Don't plan on getting much work done very quickly with one of these.

    On the other hand, if you're after a Because I Can toy, don't let ME stop you :-0
    • [Librettos] are very difficult to work with, even after you're used to the keyboard. Don't plan on getting much work done very quickly with one of these.

      I think that depends on the size of your hands. I have a Lib 70, and used it for 4 years. I probably typed more on it than on any other computer during that time. I found I preferred the keyboard to a full size one, because I didn't need to move my fingers so far. They could just dance over the keyboard.

      I now have a Fujitsu P-series, and I like the screen a lot better (1280x768 beats 640x480!), but I don't like the keyboard as much. (Of course, when I go back to the Lib now I have a lot of trouble adjusting; it takes a while to get used to a small keyboard.)
  • I would have *loved* to see a 16:9ish format screen on this, like on their Picturebook. I've run my screens in a similar mode lately, by using panning, and I find it's amazingly useful. It has a much more "desktop and paper" like feel to it. Great for movies too (well, without the panning...)

    Otherwise, this looks sweet... but what's that "c: 10gb, d: 10gb" thing they mention in the specs? ;->

  • Yeah it's cool that it weighs 1.8 pounds, but is it functional? Forget the keyboard being unusable... the screen is *tiny*. Compare the DPI of various screens:

    Inspiron 8000
    15.1" UXGA
    132 DPI

    Fujitsu P1000
    8.9" 1024x600
    133 DPI

    Fujitsu P2000
    10.6" 1280x768
    141 DPI

    Sony Clie T665 PDA
    3.1" 320x320
    145 DPI

    Sony PCG-U1
    6.4" XGA
    200 DPI!!!

    The DPI is significantly higher than even the Clie PDAs!

    I'm surprised that Fujitsu laptops are often overlooked; they have many well priced models of various sizes:

    The widescreen format of Fujitsu's smallest laptop, the P-1000 Series, provides a fairly usable keyboard. It also has a *touch*screen and costs only $1100. Weighs a bit more at 2.2 pounds. A newer version is rumored to be released next month: sh tml?products/notebooks/tech_specs/p1000_summer02_t s

    The P-2000 mentioned above has *internal* DVD/CDRW,is only 3.4 pounds (2.8 pounds with weightsaver in place of CD drive), has battery options to get up to 14 hours, and costs $1500. A newer version is also rumored to be released next month (933 MHz CPU). Check out the P series forums at sh tml?products/notebooks/tech_specs/p2000_summer02_t s

    If you want a lightweight full-sized notebook, the S series has a 1.2 GHz P4-M CPU, 13.3" XGA, weighs 4.5 pounds, and costs $1500 (personally I wish this one had a 1280x1024 screen). sh tml?products/notebooks/tech_specs/s_series_fall02_ ts

  • mages/wallpaper_pop_02.jpg
  • Dynamism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PhotoGuy ( 189467 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @08:18AM (#4477456) Homepage [] has been selling these for months. Not a new release.

    I'm a big fan of small computers, and am glad to see some manufacturers resisting the touchpad, which is a huge space hog on small units. I do wish the new U1 went with a trackpoint, or a libretto-like mouse on the screen. Having it where they located it on the U1, almost makes it necessary to pick up the unit to use the mouse, which is unacceptable.

  • I feel like I must not be using my laptop correctly or something, or perhaps it is just my big hands.
    All I know is that as the screens are getting larger (Sony has that newish 16" screen now), I'm pleased as punch - but the small laptops are totally unusable to me - I just can't use anything on the screen (at least not without head splitting annoyance).
    So I'm assuming there is some other use for these things that I don't use mine for - perhaps bringing to presentations where everything is projector driven anyway.

  • I have a sony PCG-U1 which i bought from here []

    it works well, execpet the battery life is kinda short, but if you run it on max power save you can get about 2 hours on it.

    THe best use ive found for it so far is concealed war walking, get netstumbler on it, plug in some earphones and place it in your bag. it even fits in my fanny-pack. You can walk anywhere with it no-one would even think you have a computer in your fanny-pack.
    plus, it's a lady killer ;-)
  • That smell is the transmeta crusoe radiating several magnitudes more heat than it was ever designed to handle.
  • Am I the only one who thinks that computer size should be goverened by practicality and not always by technology? I'm tired of needing a thumb tac to type an email.
  • small, but too thick (Score:2, Informative)

    by dfries ( 466073 )
    At 1.4" thick it is almost twice as thick as my Toshiba Protege 3015 which is about 0.75" thin. Mine is about 3 years old but people still look at it and go 'wow that's tiny'. At least I can type normally on my Toshiba.
  • According to the produce description, this sub-sub-sub-notebook has:

    "Mega Bass with Theatre sound"

    Methinks Sony's marketing staff needs beat over the head with reality. (:

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