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Sony steps on gas to get Palm-based products out quickly

We want to ship soon as possible in 2000, says company exec

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Sony's crash programme to develop PalmOS-based devices looks set to bear fruit early next year, the company told attendees of the PalmSource Tokyo Summit conference this week. "We hope to have our first offering ready for release at the earliest possible date in 2000," said Sony executive Masafumi Minami.

Sony was at PalmSource Tokyo to follow up on its 15 November announcement that it has licensed the PalmOS and will be developing a range of devices based on it. The Japanese giant also plans to incorporate support for its Memory Stick 'solid-state floppy' technology and multimedia facilities into the PalmOS - enhancements that Palm can then pass on to its other licensees. Minami didn't add much to the original announcement, but it's clear that Sony is working hard to get its Palm-based products out quickly.

Sony is aiming its products at the traditional Palm organiser market and at consumer and wireless applications - the latter, in particular. Japan is moving rapidly to upgrade its cellular comms networks to next-generation technologies, more with an eye to mobile data than voice, and Sonywants to be there right at the outset. It's not hard to envisage, based on what Sony has itself said, Sony-branded Palm VII-style devices with colour screens (thanks to the latest version of the PalmOS) downloading digital music, streamed video and regular web content for Japanese users on the move. ®

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