VAIO used to be a brand within Sony's electronics empire, but it was sold off last year. Now the new VAIO is going up against its former parent company in the smartphone space. The VAIO Phone is now official and is coming to Japanese carrier b-mobile on March 20th. North America? Probably not.

The VAIO Phone is an LTE handset with what appears to be a very clean, nearly stock build of Android 5.0. The design reminds me a bit of the Nexus 4. Here are the specs.


CPU 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 quad-core
Storage 16GB
Display 5-inch 720p
Camera 13MP
Battery 2500mAh
OS Android 5.0

So it's more or less mid-range, but it's probably not new hardware. The VAIO Phone appears to be a rebranded Panasonic Eluga U2 with different software. That phone launched in Taiwan recently. VAIO is asking 51,000 yen ($420) for the VAIO Phone when it hits shelves. That's a little on the high side, but maybe this is just the first step toward VAIO becoming a real player in the Android ecosystem.