That Sony “netbook” might not exactly be a netbook



Did you see that the FCC paparazzi are at it again? Today’s feature photo is for a Sony device that Engadget sleuths out as roughly 9.5" x 4.5". I think that their size guess-timate is actually a little large and I suspect that this isn’t a netbook in the traditional sense. Of course, my guess is no better than anyone else’s, but here’s my thought process:

  • Based on the length and width ratio seen in the picture, this form factor is crying out to me as the clamshell resurrected. I suppose you could say all netbooks are "clamshell" to a point, but this reminds me of the old HP Jornada devices. See below.
  • There’s mention of Windows on the label, but might that mean Windows Mobile? I think it’s a possbility. Bear with me and move on the the next thought.
  • Windows Mobile would likely mean phone capabilities because there just isn’t much of a market for PDAs in this smartphone world. Hang in there…. almost done.
  • Is it common for the FCC to test the SAR, or Specific Absorption Rate, of notebook computers? I wouldn’t think so but I’ll plead ignorance here. The SAR test is generally used to measure radiation from mobile phones.

SarphantomIf SAR measurement is common on notebooks, then my best guess is all washed up. Let me re-phrase that: if SAR testing is common by putting the notebook near a fake head for testing, my best guess is all washed up. When I pored through the FCC docs, I found it odd that there was so much documentation showing the phantom head used for the SAR test. I did learn all about how they make the head, though.

In any case, this is all just a hunch on my part. I’m thinking dual-purpose device: phone and handheld computer. After all, it has the wireless bells and whistles of both: EV-DO, 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth. Plus the device was tested in and supports these data frequencies in addition to the 2.4GHz band of WiFi and Bluetooth: 824MHz to 848MHz, 1850MHz to 1910MHz.







these images are definitely HP Jornadas with a Sony label …


The handhelds like the Jornada and Psion’s were very popular selling well over 2.3 million a year! The problem with that spec listed above is that the width of 4.5 makes it not jacket pocket in size. That is why the handhelds did so well even with an OS a bit buggy. A device too wide like that is like the NEC 750 which did not do very well compared to the Psion 5mx and HP 720 and similar size handhelds.


Are you boys forgetting the SONY Vaio Picturebooks? This could be a reincarnation of the true first netbooks! The Picturebooks, or the PCG Series was rather remarkable for when the were first introduced. I was just recently trying to purchase one until I picked up a ASUS 1000H.

You can still find them on eBay but they are kind of expensive for what you get.

Brian Goodwin

As a former Jornada 680 user….I would love to see this form factor come back….this time with 3G.

That 680 was a computer that really could drop into a big pocket yet included a keyboard wide enough (just barely) to touch type, with instant on CE, double flash card drive slots on the bottom, and a 9 hour extended battery that allowed me to work from Los Angeles to London… and when the flight was over I slid it into my pocket and walked off the plane.

Brett Quam

I have been waiting for a nice netbook that finally ditches the touchpad and goes with a pointing stick that you see on some Toshibas, Dells, HPs, and Lenovas. I have always been more efficient with these pointing nubs than a trackpad.

The only problem is I have a beef with Sony that goes back a long ways, but maybe if they do it, others will follow…


Interesting point about the SAR. It is possible that they are testing it just in case someone tries to use the thing with VoIP like it is a handheld phone. The label says that “Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft” so I would imagine that we can assume it will be running a Windows OS. Highly unlikely, but it could be running Windows Mobile, and really be a phone : P


Don’t tease me like that only for others to dash my dreams!

If someone, especially Sony, made a Jornada-like smartphone on Windows Mobile, I don’t know that I could contain my enthusiasm.


You can size this exactly as the label – bottom right – is 128mm according to the FCC specs. That makes the whole device 25cm x 12 cm. However, I agree with Kevin it doesn’t seem that big from the photo

@tamara – what are the full specs?


Doesn’t the FCC document mention that the name of the device starts with the letters PCG?

If so, that’s standard Sony naming for all its VAIO PCs.


it’s definitely a netbook, just without a touchpad/replaced with a optical mouse pointer (like Everun Note). the screengrabs of the specs taken from Sony’s internal forums (have to be an employee to log in) are floating around.


It looks to me more like a Q1 slate device. It’s one way to differentiate yourself from the masses, and charge a premium due to the touchscreen while saving money on the keyboard.


I will still keep hoping that it is a phone/computer hybrid, but I won’t hold my breath.

Kevin C. Tofel

Kornel, thanks for keeping me honest. I can’t believe that the FCC tests notebooks near your head. Maybe there’s a use case that I’ve been missing out on. I’ll have to put my MSI Wind under the pillow tonight and see what happens. ;) I saw no mention of Qualcomm’s Gobi chipset in the docs, but it’s possible I missed it.

samsung fan

looks a bit like the old psion revo! I’m surprised the old PDAs dont get a bit more of a mention alongside these new netbooks – especially as the old psion series 7 was pretty much the prototype for many of these!


Im afraid you are wrong on this one. I just checked the documents for the eee 900 and they do in fact test that too. Also the sony device supposedly has a qualcomm gobi module which as far as I know is for PCs only and has no voice capabilities.


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