Sony Corp. said Wednesday it will soon begin selling a new version of its Palm-OS based Clie PDA (personal digital assistant) with a higher quality screen than earlier models.
The PEG-N600C has a 320 by 320 pixel frontlit TFT (thin film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) capable of displaying 65,536 colors -- an upgrade on the otherwise similar PEG-700C which can only display 256 colors. Sony last updated the Clie in March this year and the display was one of the main focuses that time too when the backlit, 160 by 160 pixel color screen was replaced with a reflective screen of similar resolution to the new 700C.
The new PDA is based on the same 33MHz Dragonball VX processor from Motorola Inc. as the Clie 700C model although it is the first to make use of the updated version 4.0 of Palm Inc.'s operating system. Size-wize the device is identical to the 700C at 71 by 118.5 by 16.8 millimeters and it weighs the same at 160 grams.
Sony plans to put the new Clie on sale in Japan on August 4 at a price around 45,000 yen (US$360). That launch date gives Sony a two week head-start on the launch of Toshiba Corp.'s first entry into the PDA market, the Genio, which will go on sale on August 20. Perhaps more importantly, the new Clie will be much cheaper than the Genio, which will cost 70,000 yen according to Toshiba.
Toshiba's entry into the market and the planned entry of other companies, such as NEC Corp., is making the Japanese PDA market very competitive. The market has been long led by Sharp Corp. with its Zaurus line of PDAs, although companies such as Palm, Handspring Inc. and Sony itself have all entered the sector in Japan in the last few years. The domestic PDA market reached 1 million units in 2000 and is expected to expand to 1.5 million this year, according to Sony estimates.