Is that FCC Sony device a Picturebook reincarnated?

17 Comments

Ever since Kevin found that Sony "netbook" that leaked off the FCC website my memory glands have been working overdrive.  Word is starting to move around the web that this device may be the Sony Picturebook reincarnated.  This smacks of great truth to me as I owned one of the original Picturebooks and it was a marvel of its time.  The photo from the FCC could indeed be a form factor like the Picturebook of old and this new one left in a comment sure looks like one:

Vclamfr3

So what is the Sony Picturebook?  Read on after the jump to find out more.

The original Sony Picturebook, PCG-C1VPK, was a tiny notebook, even smaller than most netbooks today, that appeared in the early 2000’s.  The official Sony specs show nothing too impressive although in 2000 they certainly were:

  • CrusoeTM processor
    TM5600 667 MHz1
  • 15.0 GB2 max. hard drive
  • Windows® 2000 Professional (PCC-1VPK).  Also available with Windows® Millennium Edition (PCG-C1VP).
  • Only 2.2 lbs. light, about 1" thin
  • 128 MB SDRAM (expandable to 192 MB max.)
  • 8.9" UWXGA (1024 x 480) screen with XWIDETM polysilicon display technology
  • Integrated CCD progressive scan camera
  • Simple one-button movie and still image capture with Sony’s Smart Capture software
  • High-capacity lithium-ion battery
  • Durable magnesium-alloy case
  • 512 KB Integrated Cache On-Die Level 2
  • i.LINK( (IEEE 1394) S400 interface3 supports high-speed digital video, audio and data transfer capabilities among equipped Sony products
  • Integrated V.90 modem
  • Sony MagicGateTM Memory Stick( media slot
  • Sony Jog DialTM control
  • ATI RAGETM MOBILITY graphics chip
  • 8 MB Video RAM
  • 1 type II PC card slot with CardBus support
  • 1 USB port
  • Built-in stereo speakers

Long before I was writing about this mobile tech stuff I was just as crazy about it and I actually owned one of these jewels.  I don’t remember how much I paid for it although I’m sure it was way too much at the time.  It shipped with Windows and I got over a year’s worth of solid use out of it.  In spite of the hardware components, which you have to remember rivaled most notebooks of the time, the Picturebook was a solid performer for me.  It was a full laptop in every regard, just a lot smaller than anything available at the time.  The 8.9" screen was prescient of the netbooks today and the integraged camera was ahead of its time. 

The Picturebook served me so well that when my oldest daughter headed off to college she asked me for it as she wanted something very portable for campus work.  She took it with her and not only did it suffice but she used it for the entire four years!  She would connect an external monitor in her dorm room for the bigger screen and that was all.  She never even used an external keyboard with it, finding the little keyboard on the Sony to work just fine for her.  I suppose she still has it today, although she finished school several years ago so perhaps it’s gone away.

I can easily see Sony producing a rejuvenated Picturebook given the netbook craze today.  What will be the biggest factor determining its success potential will be the pricing.  Sony is not known for netbook-type pricing.  Here’s a photo of the original Picturebook I found on the web.  Mine was just like this one, all purple and everything.

Vaioangle

17 Comments

Snappy

Ah, Sony picturebook, the holy-grail of gadget lust. The forefather of netbooks, next to the PSION and Jornadas, HPCs. Alas, the common failure point of the picturebook, PSION, Jornadas and HPCs was the price-point that was way above today’s netbook.

If Sony can bring it in at US$400 … I’ll be gladly surprised, and would plunk in the dough for one! ;)

Al

To me for it to be popular they need to make it narrow enough like the HP Jornada or Psion 5mx to enable it to be carried in a jacket pocket. Otherwise it will never gain much sales as that is the missing form factor people want; a touch type keyboard jacket pocket PC.

Nate

@MarceloR

The only thing that stops me from using a C1x, to this day, is the lack of built in Wifi. Other than that, it would be a very usable device.

scoobie

Agree the picture looked faked from the HP. Its squarer at the edges compared to the base Sony FCC photo which we know to be true

MarceloR

Hey I still use mine. I have the PCG-C1X which is
the second and last model to use an Intel processor. When the Transmeta units came out later, I ordered one without checking the specs and had to sell it off on eBay. I do scientific/engineering calculations and won’t use any Intel-clone processor as the floating point operations can’t be trusted for correctness (even on AMD’s.) It currently has an SSD with an oddball ZIF to IDE adaptor taken out of a 1.8 disc IBM made for the X41. Runs Linux (Debian Etch) quite well.

orbitalcomp

“Um, unless my eyes deceive me and/or I am missing the joke but that is a seriously bad photochop job on that Sony pic from the comments.

It’s just the HP Jornada 7×0 with a Sony badge cropped onto it and a little work done around the hinge. The powercable, LED and keyboard are identical…”
—————-

I agree with Fishd above, that photo looks like a fake. That is a Jornada 680/690/720 device with a Sony logo ‘shopped in. The stylus and LED light give it away.

scoobie

@Timray where are “these specs everyone is leaking”? I’ve not seen anything

James Kendrick

You’re all correct. Those specs were the only official ones I could find from Sony and they are the Crusoe processor. Mine was a C1X which had the Pentium. Nice notebook. :)

Nate

BTW, James, the specs you have listed aren’t even close to what the first gen Picturebook actually had. The one you’ve posted may be the first generation of Picturebooks with the Crusoe processor.

The original Picturebooks shipped with low MHz Pentiums, and they performed pretty darn well. I preferred my first gen PCG-C1X over my PCG-C1MV. The thing was built like a tank, and was pretty darn quick.

Nate

I owned a couple Picturebooks, back in the day, including the last generation of the device, which was terrible because of the Transmeta processor. If got much better performance out of my first gen 233MHz Pentium, than I did out of that last gen with the Crusoe.

A Picturebook device with a current processor would be an interesting device, if it’s priced right. With Sony, that can be a big IF, though. If they price it like they did a few years back, the thing will be DOA.

I paid 1900 bucks for my last gen Picturebook. These days, that wouldn’t fly.

Fishd

Um, unless my eyes deceive me and/or I am missing the joke but that is a seriously bad photochop job on that Sony pic from the comments.

It’s just the HP Jornada 7×0 with a Sony badge cropped onto it and a little work done around the hinge. The powercable, LED and keyboard are identical…

Jeremy Kaufman

While I am eagerly awaiting this new device, I have to say that the old Picturebook is a lot sexier than this new black plastic look. Then again, if they can bring the price down to netbook levels, I’ll buy one and love it – hopefully as much as my old Toshiba Libretto 100!

TimRay

i’m just glad to see something different coming to market!

it’s definitely the PictureBook reincarnated, in the screenshots posted the internal dev name was “PicturePro”. i never owned 1 but did the original PB have a touchscreen? because this 1 listed that it does. i’m surprised everyone leaking the specs hadnt mentioned that yet.

Neill

“Portable devices we’ve owned in the past” would be a great blog page. I’d love to read about other people’s old gadgets.

Lee

I still have a working picturebook, which I do not use anymore. It runs Windows ME >, which it turns out was shorthand for Vista.

Anyway, that was one of my all time favorite computers. It was one of the all time sexiest piece of gear, with the two tone metallic lavender…

Sean O C

I’m loving the trip down memory lane between this and the photo of the HP Jornada posted earlier!

Whilst I love my eee PC I cannot exactly put it in a suit jacket pocket where my old Jornada used to live

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