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Desktops

Sony springs into summer with new PCs

The consumer electronics maker is looking to revive its PC business, formerly one of its most prosperous product categories, with its new lineup of desktops.

Sony Electronics is looking to revive its PC business, formerly one of its most prosperous product categories, with its new summer lineup of desktops.

As expected, Sony announced the new crop of desktops Tuesday. The company has loaded the systems with features such as DVD-rewritable drives, digital video recorder software and advanced components. Sony, which has seen its PC business slide lately, is looking to use the same high-end strategy that allowed it to establish itself as a significant player in the PC market early on. The PCs will be available next month, the company said.

According to research firm IDC, Sony shipped 790,000 units in the fourth quarter of 2002, down from 1.03 million during the same period the year before. During the company's year-end earnings call in late April, its Tokyo-based parent reported disappointing results, causing its stock to reach a 52-week low. Sony cited the decrease in sales of Vaio PCs and CRT (cathode ray tube) televisions as part of the reason for the results.

However, instead of lowering prices significantly and going for market share like many PC makers do, Sony is sticking to its guns and offering more expensive systems that allow consumers to perform multimedia activities.

"Our goal is not to achieve 40 percent of the market--but we don't want to lose share, either," Hideyuki Furumi, director of desktop marketing at Sony, said in an earlier interview with CNET News.com. "We won't do anything crazy to gain 10 percent...gaining share is important, but creating a philosophy is equally important."

Sony is offering seven new desktop Vaio PCs as part of its lineup:

• The PCV-RS310, which costs $899, comes with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 processor, 256MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, a DVD-RW drive and a CD-RW drive.

• The PCV-RS320, at $1,099, comes with a 2.6GHz Pentium 4 processor with Intel's hyperthreading technology, 512MB of memory, a 120GB hard drive, a DVD-RW drive and a CD-RW drive.

sony vaio • The PCV-RZ32G costs $1,299 and comes with a 2.6GHz Pentium 4 processor with Intel's hyperthreading technology, 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, a DVD+RW/-RW drive and a CD-RW drive.

• The PCV-RZ34G, at $1,599, offers a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 processor with Intel's hyperthreading technology, 512MB of memory, a 120GB hard drive, a DVD+RW/-RW drive and a CD-RW drive.

• The PCV-RZ36G, priced at $2,199, will come with a 3.0GHz Pentium 4 processor with Intel's hyperthreading technology, 1GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, a DVD+RW/-RW drive and a CD-RW drive.

• The PCV-RZ30GN4 costs $1,649 and comes with a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 processor with Intel's hyperthreading technology, 512MB of memory, a 200GB hard drive, a DVD+RW/-RW drive and a CD-RW drive.

• The PCV-RZ30GN2, at $1,199, comes with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 processor with Intel's hyperthreading technology, 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, a DVD-RW drive and a CD-RW drive.

Sony is offering a $100 rebate on the PCV-RS310 and the PCV-RS320 until the end of October. All the systems except the Vaio PCV-RS310 and the Vaio PCV-RS320 come with Sony's Giga Pocket digital video recording software.

Sony in early July will release the PCV-W30, which will cost $1,599 and will be an update of Sony's W Series. The company wouldn't comment on the system's features.