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Western Digital offers glowing red 250GB hard drive

Plus: Group Sense unveils Palm smartphones and Sony launches UK Clies

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Hard Drive

Western Digital has issued a special edition of its 250GB, 7200rpm, 8MB cache 1394/USB 2.0 external hard drive. The new model ships with a clear case and built-in LED illumination.

Hard drive as fashion accessory? Could be, but WD is really attempting to cash in the emerging trend for internally lit PC cases.

The $449 Special Edition is available from WD's online store (though it's currently only flagged as a pre-order option), and will in initially be sold through CompUSA's US retail stores. Broad availability will follow later. The drive is compatible with Mac OS 9.2.2 and OS X, plus Windows 98 SE/ME/2000/XP.

We are still awaiting word on UK and European availability.

Smartphone

Hong Kong-based Group Sense PDA has unwrapped two Palm OS-based smartphones aimed at the European and Asian GSM/GPRS handset markets.

The Zircon is based on a 33MHz Dragonball VZ CPU running Palm OS 4.1. It's got a 2.2in 160 x 240 32-bit colour screen - it uses a virtual Graffiti text-entry panel - and features a 352x288 pixel camera. It has 32 polyphonic ringtones, and includes a dual-band 900/1800 radio for connection to GSM and GPRS networks.

While Zircon is a slim version of the classic PDA-with-phone form-factor, Group Sense's second model, Onyx, is based on a flip-phone design. When closed it's the same size as Zircon (97 x 47 x 20mm/3.9 x 1.9 x 0.8in) and the same weight (130g/4.6oz). It's internals a presumably the same too, since its specifications and features are identical to Zircon's. Both are powered by a 900mAh removable Lithium Polymer battery capable of 100 hours' stand-by and two hours' talk time.

Group Sense expects to ship both smartphones into Asia next month, with a European release in Q3. As yet there is no indication they will ship will a tri-band radio for US operation.

PDA

Sony has launched the Clie PEG-TG50 and SJ22 PDAs in the UK, extending its range at the high- and low-end, respectively.

The TG50 is Sony's second Palm OS 5 device, running on a 200MHz Intel XScale PXA250 processor, the company says, though we assume it means the PXA255, the 250's recently launched and much superior successor - we hope it does. It's got 16MB of RAM. Like Palm's Tungsten T, the Sony device has built in Bluetooth and voice recording. Lifting the aluminium lid reveals the 320x320 16-bit colour screen and mini backlit keyboard.

The TG50 ships with Sony's new Remote Camera application, which uses Bluetooth to remotely control Sony's DSC-FX77 Cybershot digital camera and DCR-TRV80 Handycam. Just set up the camera or camcorder then use the TG50 to view - and capture - what the camera sees, from up to 10m away in an open space.

A Memory Stick slot and MP3/ATRAC 3 playback completes the feature-set. Its dimensions are 71.6 x 126 x 16.2mm, and it weighs 184g. The PDA costs £249.

The £126 PEG-SJ22 has a 320x320 16-bit colour screen too. It's based on Palm OS 4.1 running on a 33MHz Motorola Dragonball VZ CPU. It contains 16MB of RAM and a Memory Stick slot. It's 71.8 x 104 x 16.8mm and weighs 138g.

Both PDAs are available immediately. ®

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