Sony is in the process of forming a new VAIO division with laptops designed by third parties, according to VAIO Business Group deputy president Ryosuke Akahane. In an interview with PC Pro, Akahane said the company plans to split its laptop business into two groups. The first will continue producing the same old Sony-crafted VAIO systems, while the second division's systems will be made by external entities.

That may not be outwardly obvious when comparing computers from the two units, though. Outsourced notebooks will still be approved by Sony, carry the company's brand, and have the same taste, style and features of VAIO machines. However, the systems will differ in technology. Hardware such as the latest processors will be limited to division one before trickling down to second-tier PCs.

Akahane made it clear that Sony isn't interested in establishing a new brand name like Dell has done with its Studio and Inspiron lines. In fact, he called it inefficient and said Sony instead wants to enhance the identity of VAIO. He also noted that Sony's new strategy is mostly intended to combat rivals HP and Apple, rather than Acer.