Who still believes in Windows Phone? How about Vaio

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Windows Phone isn’t dead yet. It just got a vote of confidence from an unlikely source: We’ve confirmed that Sony spinoff Vaio will announce a Windows 10 phone, as early as this week.

Don’t get me wrong: Things still look pretty bleak for fans of Microsoft’s mobile operating system. Major Windows Phone partners such as Samsung and HTC have abandoned the platform and Microsoft’s own recent flagship Lumia 950 and 950 XL handsets have been disappointing at best. Sales have shrunk. But all of a sudden, we’re seeing lesser known companies commit to Windows Phone. Companies such as Vaio.

Vaio used to be Sony’s computer brand — until Sony sold off the underperforming PC division in 2014.Since then, the company has focused on producing premium computers such as the Vaio Z Canvastablet and Vaio Z Flip convertible. But apparently, Vaio’s ambitions don’t end with traditional PCs.

And Vaio isn’t the only upstart company looking to try its luck at Windows Phone, either. At this year’sCES in Las Vegas, we learned that budget smartphone manufacturer Alcatel OneTouch is planning to build multiple Windows Phones this year, including a “superphone” designed to compete against high-end Apple and Android handsets.

The Vaio Z Flip laptop. Vaio’s logo hasn’t changed since the Sony days.

Vaio is a particularly intriguing choice to take on the challenge of building good Windows 10 phones, though. With its two recent computers, the company has proven it can cram exceptionally powerful processors into surprisingly slim computers, which is something that flagship Windows 10 phones may need.

One of Microsoft’s key selling points for future Windows 10 phones is Continuum, which lets you connect a Windows 10 phone to a nearby monitor, mouse and keyboard, and use it like a full Windows 10 PC. Another is the ability to run full Windows 10 applications on the small screen. Those features could take a good deal of processing power to do properly.

Microsoft’s Display Dock, which can help connect a Windows 10 phone to a monitor, mouse and keyboard.

For now, we have no details about Vaio’s Windows Phone, or whether it will even be available outside Japan. Still, the Vaio Z Canvas tablet came to the US and the Vaio Z Flip convertible and Vaio S laptop will arrive in the next few months.

It’s possible that Vaio’s situation will change drastically in the near future, too. In December, Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reported that Toshiba, Fujitsu and Vaio were considering a three-way merger to help compete with bigger PC companies such as Lenovo, while a Taiwanese supply chain report from Digitimes at the end of January suggests that those merger negotiations might be nearly complete. We don’t know if that could affect any plans for a Vaio phone.

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