All-in-one PCs

Sony Corp. has introduced a new form factor in its lineup with its latest entry in the home personal computer market.

Called the All-in-one PC, the system is basically a flat-panel monitor thick enough to store a high-powered computer.

The company announced the unit at the recently concluded

Interior Design Show in Toronto.

Part of its Vaio V PC-TV Series, the All-in-one PC is intended to marry TV and PC experiences, said Puneet Jain, senior marketing manager for Vaio PCs in Sony of Canada’s audio visual/information technology group.

Form and design

“”We’ve carved out a niche for Vaio in the market place,”” Jain said.

“”We have created a different position with form and design to stand out from the rest of the group.””

The unit has functionality and features exclusive to Sony. For example, Sony Giga Pocket engine with newly developed Motion Reality technology, delivers similar visual display as a TV in the LCD monitor.

The unit also comes with a V-series wireless mouse and keyboard.

The computer runs Windows XP Professional and not Media Center because it already has enhanced personal video recording capabilities, along with an integrated future program listings.

“”We are in a convergence world with video, audio and features for camcorders,”” Jain said.

Jain added that it is a new concept for Sony to enable users to view TV and do their computing needs.

He said the system is suitable for bedrooms, dens, kitchens, living rooms or a home office.

For Jain, the key to success in the market for All-in-one is with IT resellers.

He believes audio-visual dealers will carry it, but there’s a question of where a retailer such as Future Shop display the product: In the computer or the TV section?

“”Unfortunately, the market is segmented and our partners may not be confortable selling one or the other,”” Jain said.

Sony of Canada does not disclose possible margins on its products. Having said that, Jain said margins would be better than regular desktop PCs.

The Vaio All-in-one PC has a suggested list price of just under $3,000.

The 17-inch wide LCD unit comes with an Intel Pentium 4 chip, a 200GB hard drive, NVidia GeForce 128 MB graphics card, a memory stick slot, double layer DVD/R and RW drives and a remote control.

Gateway Gamble

A slightly different version of the all-in-one PC comes from San Diego-based Gateway.

Gateway, which is represented in Canada by Keating Technologies of Markham, Ont., released this month its Profile 5.5, an all-in-one desktop PC that is more IT than consumer electronics product.

It comes in three models based on LCD monitor size (15-inches up to 19 inches).

According to Gateway, the Profile 5.5 is a space saving desktop powered by a Pentium 4 chip, 40GB Serial ATA hard drive and running Windows XP Professional edition.

Software includes Microsoft Works 8.0.

Compared to the Sony All-in-one Vaio, the Profile 5.5 lacks DVD writing capability with only a CD-ROM drive.

While it does have a wireless keyboard and mouse the product does not include a remote.

However, pricing for the Gateway Profile 5.5 is considerably less than the Sony model, starting at US$1,500.

Up against the wall

Companies such as Sony and Gateway will have a tough time convincing businesses to buy into their all-in-one strategies if history is a guide. IBM pulled out of this market back in late 2002.

At the time Big Blue said the LCD monitors on its all-in-one NetVista PC’s were outlasting the ones bundled with its desktop computers.

Customers also complained of being unable to migrate the LCD portion of the all-in-ones into any other IT upgrade plans.

Apple success

Where IBM failed Apple has succeeded with its iMac, which is an all-in-one personal computer that has found success in the office and in the home.

These are markets where Sony and Gateway hope to find success in with their products.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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