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Sony to unleash Wi-Fi, camera toting PalmOS 5 Clie

And dashed convincing it looks, too...

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Next week, 2nd October, Sony will launch a deeply cool-looking PalmOS 5.0 Clie range, according to confidential Sony documentation seen by The Register. It's still only PalmOS 5.0 of course, rather than the Next Big Thing, but from the look of the flagship PEG-NX70V Sony is mounting a serious stab at making the stop-gap intensely desirable, even compelling.

The NX70V will be available in November, and has a US price tag of $599.99. It and the NX60 have a "wireless card slot" which takes a Sony 802.11b card, but presumably no other variety. The 70 runs a 200MHz ARM chip, has a 310K pixel camera (this is the only one that does), 320x480 TFT, an MP3 player, and it does video clips too.

Interfaces are serial and IR, plus a USB cradle for PC connectivity, and Sony's Memory Stick. It's very very dinky and silver, about 3x5.5in, and weighs eight ounces. Reverse-engineering the claims in the Sony documentation, we'd guess battery life will be five hours continuous use with the backlight switched off. In the package size it has a full, albeit somewhat small, qwerty keyboard. We like the infrared remote facility for your audio gear very much. Now, let's get that so it'll do the media player on your PC as well, and not bother with whole new "Media Center" systems.

Despite the size of the keyboard, it's intended to allow you to do a little light editing. It has Word and Excel viewers/editors, does web browsing and email, and is is positioned to govern your life on the move, syncing with your desktop. The usual stuff, and it'll all depend on how well it does it.

As slideware (which we regret is all we have), it looks a pretty convincing bid by Sony to on the one hand inject some life into a platform that is severely threatened by the PocketPC juggernaut, and on the other demonstrate to certain people which very large company really owns consumer electronics and what goes on in your pocket. We know it's not the Next Big Thing really, but we want one anyway, and if Sony pushes it hard this fall it will be seriously dangerous. Palm - not dead yet. ®

Related stories:
Palm 'mulled Linux' for next-gen OS
Be Inc. completes takeover of Palm
Don't ask - don't tell: Palm clarifies OS strategy

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