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Sony waters down premium Vaio brand

Sony has announced that it will be allowing third party manufacturers to build laptops under the flagship Vaio brand.

Mention the word Vaio and the three things come to mind: superb build quality, great design and premium prices.

Like Apple, Sony has built the reputation of the Vaio brand on the fact that the marque is tightly controlled by head office.

Now electronics giant Sony is taking a massive risk with its premium Vaio brand by adding third party manufacturers and designers to the mix.

Sony bigwig Ryosuke Akahane has told PC Pro that the company will soon start selling 'division two' Vaio laptops designed and built by other manufacturers. He said that the new models would retain the “taste of Vaio, the style of Vaio”.

The division one Vaios will, apparently, still be built with all of the latest processors and technology with the division two offerings compromising on specifications rather than design or build quality.

It remains to be seen whether second division will mean second rate and we can't help thinking that this move will damage the existing brand rather than expanding the user base beyond its current high-end exclusivity.