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Sony sets date to show its branded PC

Sony will unwrap its first brand-name personal computer at PC Expo this month.

Sony will unveil the first personal computer branded with its own name at PC Expo in New York this month, company officials told CNET today.

Specifically designed for home users, the Sony PC will run the Windows operating systems and will be built around a motherboard--the guts of the computer--developed in conjunction with Intel. The company will announce pricing at the show June 17.

Sony already produces notebook computers for other companies, including Apple Computer's Powerbooks. The company has also previewed two high-end desktop PCs called EditStations, designed for large-enterprise digital editing and slated for a fall release.

But the entry into the consumer PC market and a recent corporate restructuring signals a new company strategy in an age where "everyone is jumping into everyone else's business," as Sony president Nobuyuki Idei said in a recent speech.

Although Sony is entering the home PC market at this late stage, it is hoping to leverage its worldwide marketing experience and name recognition in the computing arena. According to a recent Harris poll, Sony is the most respected brand name in the United States, a fact not lost on industry observers.

"They have a wonderful brand name," said Kimball Brown, a PC industry analyst at market research firm Dataquest. "If they have the right product at the right price, it'll sell like crazy."

Sony seems ready to jump not only into PCs but also Internet boxes, relatively inexpensive stripped-down terminals whose primary use is online access. The company is working on an operating system code-named Apertos designed to control such devices, much like Sun Microsystems' JavaOS.

Idei has also floated the idea of a digital "home server" that would link a home's computers and audio and video systems and would even receive digital broadcasts beamed from satellites.

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