Fascinating. Sony just figured out a simple truth of ultra-portable computing: for all its beauty, elegant hardware packed into a diminutive chassis will never make up for a perpetually sluggish OS, at least not for long. While it comes late to this understanding, Sony is finally making XP a standard load on its new VAIO P model VGN-P50. Not exactly aspirational, mind you, and very netbook-like... but at least it gets the OS out of the way of your applications unlike the original VAIO P Vista build. Any by not having to downgrade yourselves (or upgrade to Windows 7 RC), you'll keep all of Sony's optimizations like the VAIO P's XMB interface. Starting June 6th, our Japanese friends will also see a 2GHz Atom Z550 processor bump in addition to WWAN data as standard. They'll even toss in a 256GB SSD if you tick the right box. While we'd typically expect these specs to go global, the fact that we're still stuck with a 1.33GHz processor Stateside makes us doubtful, bitter even, and more than a tad envious. Available June 6th in Japan starting at ¥85,000 (about $900).

[Via Akihabara News]

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Sony VAIO P set free with XP, still not a netbook