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Sony mid-range PDA draws bead on Handspring

Market conquest continues

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Having achieved considerable success at the high end of the PDA market, Sony has set its sights on the middle-ground, launching a new machine, the Clié PEG-T415, against the likes of Palm's m125 and Handspring's Visor Pro.

Sony claims the device is the slimmest PDA on the market. Indeed, at 0.39in (1.025cm) it's thinner than Handspring's Visor Edge (0.44in) and the 0.40in Palm m500. But what's one hundredth of an inch between chums?

The T415 is based on a 33MHz Dragonball VZ processor running Palm OS 4.1. The device contains 8MB of RAM, a greyscale screen and a 16-channel polyphonic sound system. The standard IR port has been enhanced to allow it to transmit over greater distances - which, in conjunction with bundled software, allows the Clié to be used as a TV/VCR/DVD/hi-fi remote control.

Like other Cliés, the new model supports Sony's MemoryStick expansion system and the PDA family's JogDial cursor control mechanism.

The T415 is set to ship at the end of November for $300.

Sony's success at the high end was detailed last week when market watcher NPD Intelect published its August US retails sales figures. Sony's Clieés - among the priciest of PDAs - took 10.4 per cent of the market. That puts it in third place to Palm and Handspring, but since it had zero marketshare in August 2000, its growth rate outclasses its rivals.

With brandname proving such a key motivator in consumers' choice of PDA, the T415 is likely to drive Sony's marketshare even further upward. Palm is probably safe for now, but Handspring ought to be rather more concerned. ®

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