Sony refreshes VAIO Z series with Ivy Bridge, price now starts at $1,600 without the docking station
In case you didn’t notice, Sony completely revamped its laptop lineup this morning. Unlike some of the other models on offer, the high-end Z series didn’t get a redesign, but Sony at least took the opportunity to refresh it with new Ivy Bridge processors. Oh, and lower the starting price. The Z will no longer be bundled with the Power Media Dock, that external hub housing both a discrete GPU and optical drive. As such, the laptop will now start at $1,600, down from $2,000, while the dock will retail for an additional $400. Spec-wise, the Z still weighs a scant 2.6 pounds, but it’s now constructed from carbon fiber and will be offered with a glossy finish. It will also be available with quad-core Ivy Bridge CPUs, though the starting model’s processor is dual-core. Otherwise, it offers nearly the same specs as the model we reviewed last year, including a 1080p display and solid-state RAID drives. Look for the refresh sometime this month, and in the meantime we’ve included pics below to jog your memory on what this guy looks like.
You didn’t expect the Olympics to land in London without a video game tie-in snapping at its heels, did you? Of course not, but did you expect it to be bundled with a powder-blue console? Here’s the skinny: Nintendo’s Mario & Sonic at the 2012 Olympic Games Limited Edition Pack pairs the outfit’s upcoming Gamecube-free Wii refresh with the ghetto fabulous chromatic pop of the 1970s’ grooviest tuxedo craze. Like the “Family Edition” bundle that clued us in on the hardware refresh, this package has only been announced for Europe, and there’s still no word on how much either set will cost. Nintendo of Europe says they will be announcing additional bundles later this year, but if you just have to have a matching console for your blue Wiimote, you can pick one up November 18th.
This is becoming a trend. After a disappointing Q4 saw Logitech reduce the price of its Revue it revealed today that after a net loss of $29.6 million for the first quarter it is cutting the price of the Revue to $99, as well as saying goodbye to CEO Gerald P. Quindlen. Quindlen had been an outspoken supporter of the Google TV box (see the video after the break) but according to Logitech this price cut and corresponding $34 million hit to its finances are necessary to “remove price as a barrier to broad customer acceptance.” In the midst of these results — as well as lowered sales in several regions and key products like Harmony remotes — Chairman and former CEO Guerrino De Luca will assume the role of acting CEO while a long term replacement is sought. Until then, and before the Google TV Honeycomb update arrives, does anyone think the Revue will be more appealing for one Benjamin than it was for two, or three?
Following its pledge to make 3D TV experience more affordable, Samsung’s just announced a price drop on the rest of its active shutter glasses lineup. As you probably already know, the entry-level SSG-3100GB went from $129.99 down to just $49.99 last month; and now we have the better-looking SSG-3300CR plus SSG-3300GR reduced by $50 down to $129.99, along with the swanky SSG-3700CR (pictured above) getting a $70 discount to just $149.99. Of course, these premium spectacles are still far from affordable compared to their passive counterparts, so it’ll be interesting to see if Samsung’s attempt to lure more 3D viewers will work at all. Ultimately though, we’d love to see other manufacturers follow suit — bring on the 3D price war!
There wasn’t much good news for Logitech investors when the company revealed its results for the financial fourth quarter, as it fell far below targets for sales and revenue. Most of the blame went towards weak performance in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, but it also suffered from far lower than expected sales of the Google TV-powered Revue and its accessories, accounting for only $5 million in sales, down from $22 million the quarter before and short of its estimate of $18 million. Beyond fixing its issues overseas, CEO Gerald Quindlen still sees a future where internet connected TVs follow a similar path to smartphones and cited the next generation of Google TV as a major opportunity. Starting in May, the company will cut the price of the Revue to $249 (which is still at least $50 too high) and plans to “re-accelerate” its marketing at “the appropriate time” — probably sometime after Google I/O and the addition of the Android Market. As for that current hardware, both the Revue and the Sony Google TV products received unspecified “security updates” today, although Qriocity and Music Unlimited access remained offline on our Sony Internet TV unit. So let’s do the postmortem and guess what contributed to the low sales more: high prices, a half baked product or ads featuring a hairy-legged TV and Kevin Bacon?