Sony unveils X Series Vaio, Xperia 2 smartphone at IFA

CEO Howard Stringer also rolls out a global brand campaign, which he says is the new future of Sony.

Vaio X Series
Sony's Fujio Nishida gives the press a brief glimpse of the new Sony Vaio X Series laptop. Erica Ogg/CNET

BERLIN--Sony introduced a digital camera and a smartphone, and gave a brief glimpse of an ultrathin laptop, as well as a new look for its global advertising, at IFA Berlin Wednesday.

At the tail end of the company's press conference here, the head of Sony Europe, Fujio Nishida, briefly showed off a new laptop, the Sony Vaio X Series, which has yet to be officially announced. It has a black carbon fiber exterior, will weigh less than 1.5 pounds, have an 11.1-inch screen, and be less than half an inch thick. Beyond saying that it will have built-in wireless 3G and an "all day and into the night" battery, Nishida gave no internal specifications or a price for the PC.

Earlier in the day, Sony revealed the new Xperia 2 smartphone . It's the first phone with Windows Mobile 6.5, which was unveiled by Microsoft on Tuesday. Though Nishida did not give a price, he said it will be for sale during the fourth quarter of this year.

The new Cybershot TX1 digital camera also wowed the crowd with a new automatic panoramic photo feature. By choosing the direction and clicking the camera's button once, a photographer can sweep the camera over an area for 3 to 10 seconds. A panoramic photo is created automatically in 1 second, Nishida said.

Sony CEO Howard Stringer was also on hand to deliver a short speech about the future of the company. He highlighted two areas he says Sony will focus on in the future: 3D, both in the theater and in the home, and networked devices.

Regarding 3D, Stringer said, "3D is clearly on its way to the mass market. There are a variety of issues yet to be addressed, but the 3D train is on the track, and Sony is set to drive it home."

In addition to making more 3D movies, Stringer promised more 3D-capable Blu-ray players, Vaio laptops, and PlayStation 3, though he gave no indication as to when any of these would be for sale.

Video distribution is also an important focus for Sony, Stringer said. With the new PS3 going on sale Tuesday, the "PlayStation Network is a key priority. Right now it's available in 58 countries since it was introduced in 2006. Already delivering 12,000 TV episodes and 2,200 movies on demand in the U.S., the video distribution service will be rolled out in the U.K., France, and Germany later this year, he said.

The main reason Stringer made an appearance, however, was to introduce the company's new advertising campaign. While that doesn't sound all that important, this one is actually meaningful for Sony. The new global tag line will be "Make.Believe." According to Stringer it is the first time in the company's history they've had a global message for all products in all regions.

"Sony is in the midst of a pivotal transformation," Stringer said. "'Make.believe' is a symbol of the new Sony."

While that might sound dramatic, this is actually a big step for Sony. Since coming aboard, Stringer has struggled to unite the company with one clear purpose. With a singular message, it could represent a step toward what the company has been talking about for a while: getting all the various business units on the same page.

Stringer IFA
Sony CEO Howard Stringer addresses the crowd at IFA. Erica Ogg/CNET

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.

 

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