Sony has unveiled its much-anticipated Vaio P series mini laptop, which is designed to go head-to-head with the Eee PC.

The device has an 8in widescreen display and measures 240x110x20mm, giving it a widescreen-like form factor that, according to Sony, makes is possible to drop the PC into a jacket pocket or handbag.

An advantage of the wide form-factor is that the keyboard can be made slightly larger. The key pitch on the Vaio P is 16.5mm, which is considerably more than on keyboards used on some of the small form-factor netbooks currently available.

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"We did something a little bit different with this product," said Michael Abary, senior vice president of product marketing at Sony Electronics.

"We thought about who this product would be for and targeted a customer before we conceived or designed this product. And that customer is fashion conscious, skews slightly more female and really is interested in how this product will make them look and feel rather than the speeds and feeds."

The computer is based on an Intel Z520 Atom processor and the screen has a resolution of 1,600x768. Available with either a red, green, black or white high-gloss casing, the Sony Vaio P series mini laptop comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Users will also benefit from 2GB of RAM, A 128GB solid-state drive (SSD) as well as an integrated webcam and microphone and GPS satellite positioning.

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Instant-on is supported by a mode that will take users to Sony's Cross Media Bar, the navigation system employed in the PlayStation 3 and many Sony audio-visual products. Through this interface users can gain quick access to music, video and pictures without booting Windows.

Priced at £849, the Sony Vaio P Series will be available in the UK from February.


The Sony Vaio P series mini laptop has an 8in widescreen display

See also: Sony Vaio PCG-1P1L netbook set for CES