The Japanese re-entry into the PC market continues in New York this week at PC Expo as Sony launches a line of multimedia-rich PCs.
The systems, designed initially for the consumer market, will aim at making the PC a true consumer electronics appliance, according to sources close to the company.
In the near future, Sony intends to broaden its line to include systems for corporate users that would still rely on integrating standard PCs with a range of electronic components, including digital video disc drives, video recorders, and digital cameras, sources say.
Sony's first PCs will be part of an overall attempt by the consumer electronics giant to merge digital and consumer electronics products under an all-inclusive label to be designated Audio Visual Communications (AVC), sources familiar with the company say.
"The PC will be just a component of an overall integrated electronics solution," one source says, "but it will be a core component."
The first AVC systems will incorporate either a 166- or a 200-MHz Pentium processor, 16Mb or 32Mb of RAM, a Universal Serial Bus port, a 64-bit graphics accelerator, a 28.8kbit/s modem and the Windows 95 OS. The vendor has not decided which size hard drive it will offer, but sources say it will be greater than 1Gb in capacity.
The systems will be priced between US$2000 and US$3000. Software will include a number of multimedia titles, full-motion video samplers showing off the system's capability to run 30 frames per second, Netscape's Navigator browser, Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser and a host of personal productivity applications.
Eventually, Sony's capability to meld standard computers with digital electronics will be in demand at the corporate level, sources say.
"It will require different products," one source says, but Sony's ultimate vision is that corporations will need to integrate data from a variety of sources in the future.
Sony can be reached at http://www.sony.com/.