It’s Official: VAIO is in the Windows 10 Mobile “Biz”

Posted on February 4, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows Phones with 0 Comments

It's Official: VAIO is in the Windows 10 Mobile "Biz"

Announced perhaps tellingly ahead of Mobile World Congress, the awkwardly-named VAIO Phone Biz is a mid-range smart phone handset with a sleek aluminum body. But the only reason I’m even discussing it, however, is the weirdest news of all: It runs Windows 10 Mobile.

I know. It makes no sense. Maybe VAIO is trying to differentiate itself from the Android horde. Or perhaps this is a step in a strengthening alliance with Microsoft, for which it makes a growing line of PCs.

No matter. Windows 10 Mobile it is.

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Not that the VAIO Phone Biz will be broadly available. It doesn’t ship until April, and even then it will only be available in VAIO’s home market of Japan.

So, the specs. It’s a mid-level handset with a 1.5 GHz Snapdragon 617, which you may recall was recently added to the list of Continuum-compatible chipsets. So, yes, it will work with Continuum, though Sony—heh, sorry, VAIO—has documented only wireless Continuum capabilities, owing I think to the device’s lowly USB 2.0 connector.

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The aluminum body looks decent, but not spectacular—Apple will lose no sleep over this design—and it houses a 5.5-inch 1080p (1920 x 1080) LCD display. It includes 3 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of internal storage, and can be upgraded with microSD. The cameras look solid on paper: a 13 MP rear-facing unit and a 5 MP selfie camera.

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Long story short, this is nothing to get excited about, though I do have a theory about why any company—VAIO here, HP as rumored—would even bother entering the Windows 10 Mobile market at this time. And that is that Microsoft is offering better-than-ever incentives for companies to do, so that it can further reduce its own hardware-making risk. That is, let the companies with hardware-making expertise make the hardware, and let Microsoft focus on the core software stack. You may have heard of this business model. 🙂

I’ll try to find out what’s happening here. Because no matter where you fall on the “Windows phone is doomed” spectrum, you have to at least admit that this device makes zero business sense. And there has to be something that put it over the top.

 

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