Sony Vaio Fit 11A | Flip PC: An Exercise in Silly Tech Product Naming

Even Sony seems confused by the name of its newest two-in-one.

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Jared Newman for TIME

As someone who’s always enjoyed the weird naming schemes of tech products, I had a good laugh last night while finishing up our CES tablet roundup.

There are a few mouthfuls on that list, but none less palatable than the Sony Vaio Fit 11A | Flip PC. It’s the kind of name you struggle to remember without typing it at least a few times, but the funniest part is that even Sony seems confused.

Let’s break it down:

  • “Vaio” is the longtime name for Sony’s Windows PCs.
  • “Flip PC” refers to the product line as a whole. Flip PCs have hinged displays that can switch between tablet and laptop settings.
  • I’m guessing “Fit” refers to a subset of lightweight Sony laptops. The Fit 14E, for instance, doesn’t have a hinged display or touch screen like the Fit 11A, nor is it as sleek as Sony’s high-end Vaio Pro notebooks.
  • The word “Fit” appears in conjunction with a number that designates screen size. The Fit 11A has an 11.6-inch screen, while the Fit 13A has a 13-inch screen.
  • Not sure what the “A” stands for, but my guess is either premium product or first-generation product.
  • “Vaio Fit 11A Flip PC” would look pretty awful, so I suppose the | character (known as “pipe,” “polon” or just “vertical bar”) is meant to introduce some sanity. Whether it succeeds is debatable.

My head’s swimming, but I’m comforted by the fact that Sony’s marketing department is struggling as well. Here’s a paragraph from the press release on Sony’s latest Vaio products:

VAIO Fit 14E/15E starts from $579 and is available mid-January; VAIO Flip 11 starts from $799, VAIO Flip 13 starts from $1129, VAIO Flip 14 starts from $799, VAIO Flip 15 starts from $899, all VAIO Flip | PC available from end of February

In this passage only, Sony interchanges the words “Fit” and “Flip,” while dropping the “A” completely. Also, the position of the pipe in “Vaio Flip | PC” is off by one word. It should be “Vaio | Flip PC.”

This isn’t a problem with just one press release; Sony’s online store also has trouble getting the name straight:



It’s no surprise, then, that the tech press is just doing whatever:



Trusted Reviews

Bad tech product names are inevitable for companies that sell a wide range of devices, which must sound punchy without infringing on anyone else’s trademarks. But when “Vaio Fit 11A | Flip PC” is the mess you end up with, maybe it’s time to rethink it.

By the way, if you’re in the United Kingdom — where the exact same product line is instead called “Vaio Fit multi-flip PC,” — I apologize for any additional confusion.