Elitegroup preps fresh Palm clones

Follows PDA pioneer down ARM route

Taiwanese computer maker Elitegroup is to grow its family of Palm clones with three more models.

In addition to the EPD30, which caused such confusion a month or so back (see Elitegroup preps Palm clone), Elitegroup is preparing a more advanced version, the EPD50. And, following the path stepped upon by Palm last week, it's planning an ARM-based model, the EWH10.

It turns out the that EPD30 debuted some time ago, but until last month received little attention in the West, largely because it's taken more than six months for the PDA to get into production. It's based on a Motorola Dragonball EZ processor - just like Palm - running at 16MHz and contains a four-greyscale LCD.

The EPD50 will sport a 20MHz Dragonball and will ship with a stylish and... ahem... Palm Vx-esque aluminium shell.

Both PDAs run an OS called Penbex. Developed by Taipei-based Penbex Data Systems, there's a Chinese language version and an English release on the way. The OS looks rather like the Palm OS - it includes a character recognition system, and diary, address book and notepad apps.

The PDAs are aimed at the Chinese and the South American markets, Elitegroup says, and will be 20-30 per cent cheaper than rival products, the company claims.

The EPD50 is set to ship in September. A month later, Elitegroup will ship the EWH10, based on a 206MHz StrongARM CPU. The company is also preparing a version, the EWH30, based on Hitachi's S3 processor running at 160MHz and 200MHz. Both are aimed at the Japanese market. ®

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