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Sharp to ship world's first HDD-based PDA

Linux-based Zaurus SL-C3000 sports 4GB storage

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Sharp will next month ship its latest Zaurus PDA into the Japanese market, the consumer electronics company announced this week. The device will be the first PDA to sport a hard drive.

The Linux-based SL-C3000 adopts the clamshell casing of Sharp's other Japanese PDAs, with a flip-around display reminiscent of Sony's high-end Cliés. The unit weighs 298g.

Sharp Zaurus SL-C3000

The new model is based on a 416MHz Intel XScale PXA270 processor backed by 64MB of SDRAM and 16MB of Flash ROM. Crucially, the unit also features a 4GB hard drive - the first PDA to do so.

The Sl-C3000 sports a 3.7in 640 x 480 LCD mounted above a QWERTY keypad with a five-way navigator control. There's written text input too, with Kanji and Western character recognition.

Unlike Sony's PDAs, there's no wireless on the Sharp model, only infra-red. There's an SD and a CompactFlash card slot for expansion, so there's scope to add Bluetooth or Wi-Fi later on. There's also the usual USB port for connecting the device to a PC, and an earphones socket.

Will we see the C3000 outside Japan? It seems unlikely at this stage. Sharp ships its traditional tablet-style PDA, the Wi-Fi-equipped Zaurus SL-6000, in the US, but has never brought it to Europe. Indeed, it canned Zaurus sales over here a few years ago. The company no doubt reviews the market regularly, but so far there's nothing to suggest that it might return to the European market, despite the fact that here, unlike other established hi-tech territories, PDA sales are on the rise.

Meanwhile, the Sl-C3000 will go on sale in Japan on 10 November. ®

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