Sony's Vaio brand is set to make a comeback, with a new spin-off company taking the name and re-releasing the company's Vaio Fit and Vaio Pro laptops - even as the former receives a consumer safety recall in the US.
Sony confirmed that it had become a victim of the slowing global PC market in February this year
, shortly after rumours spread that it was looking to partner with Lenovo
. Sony's deal to sell its entire consumer PC division, responsible for the famous Vaio brand, to a Japanese investment consortium closed this week with the new owners announcing the launch of a brand-new company: Vaio.
Although Sony has a five per cent stake in the new business, it is to operate entirely independently from the brand's former owner. The company is also considerably smaller: while a loss-maker for Sony, the PC division employed 5,000 staff; the new business, meanwhile, has fewer than 240. Many of these job losses are international: 3,500 of Sony's PC division employees were located outside Japan, whereas for now Vaio is to operate entirely within the country's borders.
Initially, Vaio is to concentrate on sales of two existing Sony laptop designs: the Vaio Fit and Vaio Pro families. These have been respun to remove the Sony branding, although are currently being sold exclusively via Sony Japan's official web shop. The founders of the company have hinted at plans to expand the Vaio family with new designs, although are currently silent on what plans - if any - are afoot for international expansion.
The launch of the new company comes with an inauspicious omen, however, as the US Consumer Products Safety Commission issues a recall notice
on a small batch of Panasonic batteries supplied with Sony Flip PC convertibles as the result of reports of overheating and fire risks.