Sony unveiled its Vaio Professional range yesterday, aimed at business customers, putting it into competition with the likes of Toshiba, IBM/Lenovo and Dell for this lucrative market.

The range covers the tiny TX series (successor to the T2), the highly configurable BX series and the compact S series. The range was "designed after carefully listening to the IT manager", said Colin Woodward, Group IT Manager for Sony.

Unlike consumer models, where designs can change on a three-monthly basis, Sony has committed to maintaining the same BX chassis for 12 months, allowing IT managers to rollout machines over a longer timeframe. The BX also features common accessories and docking station, plus security features such as integrated fingerprint scanning.

The TX features the same small footprint as the T2, but with LCD backlit screen just 4.5mm thick and a true 16:9 resolution of 1,366x768. Sony promises up to seven hours use from the standard battery, with an additional five from the extended battery.

Sony will also provide a next business day three-year onsite repair or replace warranty, to reassure corporate IT departments should anything go wrong.

On hand at the launch to lend their support to Sony were previous business customers including the Birmingham School of Business and the England Cricket team, while sailing superstar Ellen MacArthur left a video message.