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Sony readies parade of new gadgets

The electronics giant finds itself sitting somewhat pretty amid a PC downturn, with a litany of gadgets expected to be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show.

LAS VEGAS--Sony Electronics has found itself sitting somewhat pretty amid a PC downturn, with a litany of gadgets expected to be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The international giant plans Read more breaking CES news here to announce products ranging from televisions and CD players to personal computers and radio receivers for satellite broadcast.

Although Sony has over the past few years tried to stake a claim in the high-volume PC market, its preeminence in consumer electronics has given it a leg up on most PC makers that are now trying to make their way in the gadget world.

"Sony is a stalwart and is entrenched in the (consumer electronics) market," Gartner analyst P.J. McNealy said. "They aren't about to be replaced overnight."

Microsoft and Intel are expected to unveil their own consumer gadgets at this year's confab in Las Vegas.

"PC makers are looking in-house for components and products so they can leverage the high-growth consumer market," said P.J. McNealy. He cited Intel's strategy to take a stab in the consumer market with plans for an MP3 music player as one example.

The products announced by Sony are as diverse as the consumer electronics market itself:

• Sony said preorders for its Vaio Slimtop Pen Tablet will start Jan. 6 on the company's Web site and appear in stores in February.

The tablet, priced at $3,000, comes with a LCD screen that folds down to a nearly horizontal position so it can be read flat, like a book.

Hear what everyone's buzzing about at CES 2001 this week on

Saturday and Sunday, January 6 and January 7, 4 to 5 p.m. ET on CNBC

• The eVilla Network Entertainment Center is Sony's Net appliance that places a special emphasis on audio and video entertainment, including links to Net radio stations. The device, which comes with a 15-inch monitor, is expected to hit shelves in April and cost $500, with a $21.95 monthly fee for Internet access.

• Sony's new satellite-radio receiver is aimed for use while driving as well as at home. The device can grab up to 100 channels of digital satellite broadcasting, according to the company. Available this summer, the device will cost $400 for the car receiver and $300 for the home receiver.

• Further ahead, Sony has plans for a wireless gateway that can aggregate Net access, TV broadcasts, video and still images at home. The device comes with an infrared transmitter that will allow consumers to control their other electronic gadgets from a single source. The device is expected to arrive later this year.