According to the latest model numbers dug up by Sony Insider, it looks as though Sony are preparing six new variants of the "it's not a netbook" VAIO P ultraportable. The codes - which jump from the 500-series of the current generation to a new 700-series - suggest the same array of color options, but also specification updates: VGN-P710T/B, VGN-P710T/R, VGN-P710T/G, VGN-P710T/W and the VGN-P730A/Q and VGN-P730T/Q.
Sony is still causing no amount of frustration among would-be VAIO P buyers with the various levels of configuration and the bemusing differences in availability. Three processors have been employed - ranging from the 1.33GHz Atom CPU you can buy in the US, through the 1.60GHz version, and up to the 1.86GHz VAIO P that you'd have to source through importers if you wanted it. Now there are finally benchmarks of all the different configurations (including SSD and HDD versions) to help decide.
Full benchmark results after the cut
As knock-offs go, this Sony VAIO P copycat - called the VAINO - is pretty blatant. Unfortunately there are no images of it next to the real thing, otherwise it'd become clear that the VAINO's 250 x 185 x 31mm dimensions are more your typical netbook scale than the long & thin VAIO P.
Since we're still waiting to hear when the Viliv S5 MID will land in Europe or the US, our unboxing joy will have to be achieved vicariously through photoshoots like UMPC Fever's. They've managed to score one of the 4.8-inch touchscreen handhelds, and have photos not only of the unboxing but of the GUI, accessories and even a few group shots with the Sony VAIO P and what looks to be Compal's MID.
Details are scant right now, but if this image is to be believed somebody has got OS X Leopard running on the Sony VAIO P. The picture, which was flagged up on the Pocketables forum, shows the compact "I'm not a netbook!" ultraportable using the Apple OS, although apparently not everything is fully operational.
We've already discussed on way of getting more performance from the Sony VAIO P this morning: stump up for an imported 1.86GHz Atom Z540 version. Of course, there's another way to make the most of the official US-spec 1.33GHz VAIO P, and that's get rid of bloated Vista. Unfortunately switching to Windows XP isn't as easy as you might think, with the VAIO not wanting to offer the right drivers for WWAN and GPS. Happily we now have a tutorial explaining how.
One of the more frustrating aspects of Sony's VAIO P, at least in the US, is the sole 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor choice. It was enough to concern us in our first impressions of the "not-a-netbook" ultraportable and, after benchmarks and real-world testing, enough to mount a sizable criticism in our final review. Happily there are 1.86GHz VAIO P units available from importers, and one of those has landed with jkkmobile.
Unboxing and demo video of the 1.86GHz Sony VAIO P after the cut
The Sony VAIO P's integrated mobile broadband makes for a great addition to an ultraportable device, but Sony and their carrier partner Verizon Wireless aren't going to let you have it without a fair chunk of cash. Unfortunately there are no subsidized deals as such out there yet, not in the traditional sense, but Verizon have revealed a $200 mail-in rebate if you activate (or renew) a two-year data plan on the VAIO P.
Sony have announced a new version of their 12.1-inch VAIO G notebook, the Sony VAIO G3 series. Replacing the ageing current range, the new G3 line-up consists of four models, kicking off with a 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo SU9300 then moving up to the 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo SU9400 for the remaining three, with either 1GB or 2GB of RAM, a 120GB or 160GB hard-drive, or a 64GB SSD on the most expensive G3.