About a year after being given its independence from Sony, Vaio is releasing its own smartphone.
Vaio's time as a division of Sony has given it the brand recognition that could make its newly unveiled smartphone a success, but the Vaio Phone aims squarely at the mid-range of the mobile market.
The Vaio Phone is now available through Japan's MVNO B-mobile and is included in a $33 package that includes voice and data. The full price of the phone has been placed somewhere around $420.
The Android Lollipop handset isn't expected to be offered outside Japan, at least not the current generation of the smartphone. The Vaio Phone has solid specs but appears to lack the fire power necessary to attract a following beyond those attracted to the brand name.
Inside of the Vaio Phone, there's a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor. It includes 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, which can be expanded by a microSD card of up to 64GB.
The Vaio Phone has a 5-inch display and outputs a standard HD resolution of 1280 x 720. It has a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP selfie cam.
The Vaio Phone, which is only offered in black, is about 7.95 mm thick and weighs about 130 grams. Powered by a 2,500 mAh battery, the Vaio Phone will deliver up to 800 minutes of total talk time per charge and roughly 500 hours of standby time, according to Vaio.
Many consumers may associate the Vaio brand with Sony laptops. Vaio (Visual Audio Intelligent Organizer) was spun off into an independent company after Sony sold off its PC business in 2014.
While some investors and analysts have been suggesting that Sony could, and should, exit the mobile market, which covers smartphones and tablets, the company has stuck with it and recently announced new devices. Vaio's new phone puts it in direct competition with Sony's Xperia line, doing so in the home market of Japan.
The Vaio Phone is available now, but the latest mid-range device from Sony, Sony Xperia M4 Aqua, isn't quite ready. The M4 Aqua is slated for a spring 2015 release.
The M4 Aqua's specs are almost exactly the same as those of the Vaio Phone. The M4 Aqua has a 5-inch display, quad-core processor, 13MP rear camera and 5-megapixel chat cam.