Sharp preps upgraded, rugged Linux PDA

SL-6000 to extend SL-5500 family

Sharp is preparing an updated version of its Zaurus SL series of Linux-based PDAs that boasts a larger screen that previous models and integrated wireless networking.

That at any rate is what a posting on the Zaurus User Group web site claims.

We contacted the poster, but (s)he declined to comment further on the source of the specs. and the picture of the product attached to the posting. The photo has since been pulled from the site, but it's widely spread across the Net, on sites such as this one.

The device will apparently be called the SL-6000 and is expected to ship in the US next January. UK and European availability isn't yet known.

The 6000 will be larger than the SL-5500 series, primarily to accommodate a larger, 4in 480 x 640 transflective screen. According to the posting, a button on the device flips the display between portrait and landscape mode, a trick already seen in Palm's Tungsten T3 PDA.

The larger size may also have been necessitated by the need for a bigger battery - rated at 1500mAh, according to the posting - itself required by the built-in Wi-Fi adaptor. The SL-6000 is also believed to offer Bluetooth connectivity.

Other spec. titbits include 64MB of ROM, 64MB or 128MB of RAM, integrated speaker and microphone, and both SD and CompactFlash support. The new model is also said to sport a dark-coloured ruggedised case.

News of the SL-6000 comes on the heels of Sharp UK's decision not to offer an updated Zaurus this year after dropping the original SL-5000 from its product line earlier this year. Sharp held a worldwide review of its Zaurus strategy last month to decide how best to pitch the product, updated in the summer with two new, clamshell-cased versions, the SL-C750 and the SL-C760. These have yet to ship outside Japan. In the US, the SL-5500 is still on sale, as is an updated version, the SL-5600, with more memory and a faster Intel XScale CPU. ®

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