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Vaio vies with old friend Sony by launching an Android smartphone

Sold off as part of Sony's drastic cost-cutting exercises, laptop brand Vaio has branched into phones in Japan.

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Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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The Vaio phone is on sale in Japan. B-Mobile

Shortly after ejecting from Sony, the folks at Vaio are going up against their former company with a smartphone to compete with the Sony Xperia line.

The Vaio name will no doubt be familiar as the brand name of Sony's laptops. But as part of a raft of cost-cutting measures, Sony spun off the laptop division last year. The new company kept the Vaio name and logo for its first couple of laptops and has now slapped the logo on the back of a mid-range phone.

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The new phone was revealed by Japanese operator B-mobile. It will be released on 20 March in Japan and costs 51,000 yen. This converts to roughly $420, £280 or AU$550, but it seems unlikely it'll cross to other shores.

Inside the 7.95mm-thick Vaio phone is a 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM. It sports a 5-inch 720p display and 13-megapixel camera, and it's powered by the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop software.

Meanwhile Sony hasn't stopped with ditching laptops, and in February also publicised plans to spin off its audio and visual divisions. Earlier this week the company announced the closure of its PlayStation Mobile business, which had failed to bring together its gaming and Android device sectors.