Do business users need a smartphone that’s tailored to their needs? Vaio is betting that they do. The Japan-based PC maker released details about the Vaio Phone Biz, a new Windows 10-based phone that incorporates many of the features found in Vaio’s laptops.
Starting from the outside, the Phone Biz has a silver aluminum exterior (the only color available) and a tempered glass screen with a 5.5-inch Full HD display with a top resolution of 1,080 pixels. Inside, it boasts a Snapgradon 617 system-on-chip, Qualcomm Adreno 405 GPU, 3 GB of RAM, 16 GB internal storage and an up to 64 GB microSD slot. It also has a 13-megapixel camera (plus a 5-megapixel selfie camera), LTE connectivity, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and a 2800mAh battery.
The Vaio Phone Biz (pictured above) uses Windows 10 Mobile, the mobile version of the Windows 10 operating system. Users can get support for Continuum, the Windows 10 feature that lets the operating system adapt to the way a device is being used at the moment -- meaning users can connect their phones to smart TVs or monitors and begin using the PC-like functionality, as well as use streaming and other media functions. The Phone Biz is SIM-free and is not tied to any one carrier.
That’s the good news. On the down side, the Phone Biz does not have a few features that are starting to become standard in smartphones, such as a fingerprint sensor and USB Type-C.
What might be more problematic for potential buyers, though, is that for now, the phone is only available in Japan. Vaio didn’t say why it chose to make the phone exclusively for that market, or if and when it will be released in other markets.
When we asked Jan Dawson, chief analyst for Jackdaw Research, about the pros and cons of the Phone Biz, he said its limited availability is definitely a negative.
"Windows Phone has well under one percent market share in Japan, so this is a phone targeting a niche within a niche within a niche," said Dawson.
Rolling Out Elsewhere?
Sales of Windows phones have dropped sharply in recent months, with many OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) favoring Android for their products' operating systems. Last year, Vaio unveiled another smartphone, the Android-based Vaio Phone. That phone was also initially released in Japan, but was eventually made available in Europe and other markets.
The Phone Biz will go on sale in April for the Japanese equivalent of about $430. Dawson said that if enterprise users shop around, it’s likely that they’ll find phones that meets their needs and that are available to them locally.
"The Vaio Phone Biz has solid specs, which are necessary to run Continuum," said Dawson. "But beyond that it's not clear why a business considering Windows phones would go with this rather than one of the new phones from Microsoft."
Image Credit: Photo of the Vaio Phone Biz via Vaio.