It used to be that if you heard the name of Vaio (which is an acronym for Visual Audio Intelligent Organizer), it was always preceded by Sony. Vaio is no longer with Sony since about one year ago, and they are kind of declaring their independence with their own smartphone, which is simply known as the Vaio Phone, also known as the VA 10J. The phone has a release date of March 20th, but probably will only be available in Japan. Reports are saying that the Vaio Phone is mid-range, and a rebranded Panasonic phone.
Granted, the name of Vaio Phone isn't very original, but it is a good start for the company to produce a mid-range mobile phone. According to Tech Times, the Vaio Phone isn't expected to be offered outside of Japan, at least not this current generation of the smartphone.
Engadget has reported that the Vaio phone will be launching in Japan in collaboration with one of the country's smaller carriers, b-moible, on March 20th. The also report that the phone looks "okay", and the company is probably specializing in their flagship laptop series.
In fact, Android Central has reported that the new Vaio phone is essentially a rebranded Panasonic Eluga U2. The specifications are exactly the same, as it has a 5-inch IPS LCD display that is 720p (720 x 1080 resolution). It also has a quad-core Snapdragon 410, a 2,500 mAh battery, 2GB worth of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, with a 13 Megapixel camera on the rear and a front facing 5 Megapixel camera. By the way, you won't need to wait for the Android L or Lollipop update on this phone, because it comes with Android 5.0 right out of the box.
It should be noted that that the Vaio Phone is available now (for pre-order and delivery in about two days) for about $420, but a similar phone from Vaio's former parent company, Sony, will be released sometime in 2015. This phone from Sony is the Xperia M4 Aqua, which has almost identical specs to the Vaio phone with a 5-inch display, quad-core processor, 13 Megapixel rear camera and 5 Megapixel front facing camera.
It is pretty clear that the Vaio phone is the company's flagship phone, but sadly, its mid-range specs does not bring anything new to the flooded smartphone market. So far, there isn't any word on when any more phones will be released by this company, who was sold by Sony to investment fund Japan Industrial Partners, according to Tech 2.
The Vaio phone certainly looks like a good first effort for the company if they want to compete in the smartphone market, and their experience with Sony laptops is a good start. If the company puts in as much efforts into their new smartphone line as they did with Sony's laptops, then Vaio will have no problem selling their phones in the future and branch out from Japan's borders.