Two unannounced products: the GE Vivid S5 and Vivid S6 ultrasounds look to fill a market that the company has allowed Siemens and SonoSite to have: a credible Low-Cost portable cardiovascular or truly shared-service portable ultrasound system. The unannounced Vivid S5 and Vivid S6 ultrasounds, aimed at being a "pocket Vivid 3", will take the lower-end GE Vivid 3 ultrasound, smush it into a laptop-sized package, and place it squarely in the market against the Acuson Cypress and the SonoSite MicroMaxx. It should have fully integrated stress echo as well as shared service capabilities, including an endocavity transducer option with the E8C-RS and TEE capabilities.
Surely the cardiac and vascular capabilities will be very good, as they are with the Vivid 3, but these machines will likely be missing the high-end options such as CrossXBeam or Compound Imaging, Strain, advanced analysis packages, and those things typically found in the $40,000-plus range. Hey, they gotta leave something for the semi-indistinguishable Vivid i and Vivid e products.
Oh, but one thing..: it's important to note that much of this is speculation and rumor: ie: documentation that I've seen doesn't actually state that these systems are "portable", however, it is listed that these will all run the "RS" probes, which are the transducers specifically built for hand carried units. My math says portable.
The products are under wraps and unannounced with no truly public documentation, so release dates are anybody's guess. However, surely they'd like to get this product out as soon as possible. SonoSite is expected to release a new product in the fourth quarter, and MicroMaxx's popularity refuses to cede as SonoSite becomes a household name. But assuming they don't screw this up... it seems that for the first time in a while, GE might be creating something that doesn't displace or compete against one of its own products... although the price-point will be interesting as some GE sales reps are known to sell the Vivid e for pennies when competing against the Cypress and MicroMaxx... so it's possible the Vivid e, S5, and S6 will just play in each other's sandbox. Time will tell which one gets its own Tonka.