Sony sold its VAIO computer business a little over a year ago as part of a drastic restructuring. Today, we’re getting our first glimpse at the standalone company’s debut smartphone which, as it turns out, isn’t all that original.
Known simply as the VIAO Phone, the handset is really just a rebranded Panasonic Eluga U2. For those unfamiliar, this device carries a 5-inch, 720p (1,280 x 720) IPS LCD display and is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 SoC clocked at 1.2GHz (Adreno 306 GPU) alongside 2GB or RAM.
Elsewhere, you’ll find a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front-facing shooter, 16GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD card slot) and a 2,500mAh battery. It comes running Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box with 4G LTE connectivity.
The smartphone measures 141.5 x 71.3 x 7.95mm and weighs 130 grams with a mostly plastic construction. It’s only available in one color: black. The company describes it as simple and stylish; others might simply see it as plain and unoriginal.
The VIAO Phone will go on sale March 20 through small Japanese carrier b-mobile for 51,000 yen ($420). That’s a far cry from the virtually identical Panasonic Eluga U2 which commands just $254 and shows that the company’s new owners are hoping brand recognition will go a long way. No word yet if VIAO is planning to bring the phone to markets outside of Japan.