Sony pouting over Macbook Air: thinks they did it first, better

In an interview with Gizmodo, Sonys senior vice president of VAIO product marketing Mike Abary gives Apple credit for getting a machine like the Macbook Air so small and thin, but thinks the concessions necessary to do so make the device unwanted by consumers. In his view consumers just don’t care that much about the ultra thinness factor, making the price premium to design and sell a laptop of this sort more than consumers are willing to pay, and he may be right but only to a point. There remains a significant market for the Macbook Air even if it isn’t for everyone.

Mr. Abarys animosity may have something to do with the fact that Sony tried to go down this path in 2004 with a concept model called the X505, which would have been slightly thicker than the Macbook Air and made of carbon fiber. Consumers didn’t like the X505 at the time, in part because the optical drive was definitely necessary at the time and may even be necessary for many users today. That plan was scrapped but the development process eventually turned out the series Jobs hates so much: the Sony TZ.

In his view, Abary thinks the one feature missing from the Macbook Air is 3G wireless, though we have to believe that this may have only made potential customers even more unhappy with Apple since it would likely be impossible to support all common wireless networks, the same problem potential iPhone customers face now. Given the relative ubiquity of Wi-Fi networks and the fact that any laptop can be tethered to a cell phone for internet access, we don’t think integrated wireless is such a huge strike against the Macbook Air in 2008.


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  • Brian

    “but the 2GB of ram is a serious limitation for running Parallels & XP for those few business applications that are not available on Mac. The lack of more optional ram is a serious shortcoming for me.”

    Obviously I don’t know what Windows-centric business apps you use, but 2GB of RAM is probably not holding 99% of Parallels users back from anything based on my experience. I’ve config’d my father in-laws iMac with 1Gb of RAM and it runs Win on Parallels pretty much 24/7 without any problems.

  • Joe Anonymous

    Sony’s jealous. The Vaio TZ has a smaller screen than the MBA, a dirt slow processor, a crappy OS, and costs $900 more.

    No wonder Sony is spreading FUD.

  • Blaine

    2GB is plenty of room to run Parallels. I routinely have Parallels running XP with IE, a proprietary program to make investment buys, a life insurance quotes program and another Windows database with mutual fund info. I then have Word, Excel, Safari, Lotus Notes, iTunes, and DayLite running at the same time in 10.4.11. I don’t notice any slowdowns.

  • mapple guy

    I’ve always liked sony products..I think many people have to notice that apple is making things better and affordable. We’re not just looking at who/which team is better BUT also the person changing the trends and making you go…”WOW”. Many of you would agree that apple has brought about the so called breakthrough technology. Apple just has the right recipe for new inventions, modifications..better ‘remixs’ That person is APPLE..

  • mapple guy

    Re:Blu-ray not mentioned at steve’s keynote address.. Very smart guy. The answer is appleTV ‘take two’ and other related products which may hit the market soon..I think(confidently). We dont have to worry about HDDVD/BLURAY.

  • georgep

    I have been waiting two years for Apple to bring out a notebook comparable with the Sony T series. Now that they have failed me, I will have to breakdown and buy a Windows computer, the soon to be updated Sony Vaio TZ.
    Sorry but I cannot live without proper connectivity, an internal optical drive, and a larger hard drive. Not to mention that the TZ is significantly lighter and has better battery life. Speed is not everything.

  • mic one

    ““but the 2GB of ram is a serious limitation for running Parallels & XP for those few business applications that are not available on Mac. The lack of more optional ram is a serious shortcoming for me.””

    couldn’t disagree more. i can run Crysis on my macbook pro with 2GB of ram. show me a “business app” for xp that needs 2GB of ram and i’ll eat a 1 GB stick of it…

  • bongo

    I have had to use a company Dell C400, 12 Inch, under 2kg. I must now use a Dell D630, 3kg notebook. I tell ya, the extra weight is really annoying on travel and on airports. That is why I waited for the Apple subnotebook. I have used the build in CD-ROM of the D630 once and have never missed it on the C400. USB flashkeys made floppys obsolete and CD-ROM is going dinosaur.