Sony Corp said on Tuesday it plans to launch a new Vaio laptop that will sell for around 60,000 yen ($629) in Japan in August, making an entry into the fast-growing netbook market.

Netbook PCs are smaller and cheaper than traditional notebook computers and optimised for simpler computing tasks such as Web browsing and email.

Pioneered by Taiwan's Asustek in 2007, other global brands such as Acer Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell Inc have pushed out their own lines since then.

Sony, the last major PC maker to enter the netbook segment, hopes the new product's design and high-resolution display will help the consumer electronics giant establish a presence in the market, a company spokeswoman said.

The new Sony machine, equipped with Microsoft Corp's Windows XP operating system and Intel Corp's Atom processor, will have an LCD display with a resolution of 1,366-by-768 pixels, compared with the 1,024-by-600-pixel displays that are widely used in other netbooks.

Sony declined to unveil its sales target for the new netbook model, but the company aims to boost its overall Vaio PC sales to 6.2 million units in the year to March 2010 from 5.8 million units a year earlier.

Global netbook PC shipments in 2009 are likely to more than double from a year earlier to 26.4 million units, according to research firm IDC.

Sony shares closed down 2.3 percent at 2,355 yen, underperforming the Tokyo stock market's electrical machinery index, which fell 1.2 percent.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Chris Gallagher)