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Sony planning Thunderbolt-equipped 'Hybrid' PC

Sony is reportedly in the process of building a hybrid laptop which combines an ultraportable MacBook Air-style device with a Thunderbolt-powered discrete multimedia component.

According to a report over on Sony Insider, the company is aiming to do something a little more interesting with Intel's Light Peak-based Thunderbolt port than the external hard drives that we've seen thus far: adding discrete 3D graphics and Blu-ray playback to an ultra-portable laptop design.

The Sony Vaio Hybrid PC is designed, the report claims, as a high-end ultra-portable laptop featuring an extremely thin design, an Intel Core i7 processor, SSD storage, HDMI output, and Intel's Wireless Display technology. Battery life is purported to be between eight and sixteen hours depending on the size of battery chosen, and the weight comes in at just over a kilo.

So far, so standard. Sony's plans for Intel's PCI Express and DisplayPort combining Thunderbolt technology start to make things a little more interesting, however. The report claims the company will be launching a multimedia docking station for the laptop which connects via Thunderbolt and adds in desktop-style graphics via an AMD Radeon HD board with 1GB of dedicated graphics memory, a Blu-ray writer, another dedicated HDMI output alongside VGA, wired Ethernet, and USB.

It's an interesting strategy, and one that promises the best of both worlds: while on the go, the laptop will use the Intel HD graphics integrated into the Sandy Bridge processor; while at home or the office, the add-in component brings desktop-like performance to the mix and makes gaming a real possibility.

The one thing missing from the report, however, is also the most important: the price. With cutting-edge technology and a top-end processor in the mix, Sony's Vaio Hybrid PC is likely to cost a pretty penny when it launches.