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Sharp drops plan to drop Linux PDA from US

Zaurus SL-6000 will still be offered to corporates

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Sharp is not pulling out of the US PDA market after all, the company has revealed, at least not to the extent that it had previously indicated.

The about-turn follows last month's announcement that it was dropping its Linux-based Zaurus SL-6000 handheld in the US in order to focus on the more friendly Japanese market.

Sharp said it would sell out its remaining stock of SL-6000s, and continue to support and service these units and those already sold. However, no new units would be brought into the US or produced there.

Now, in a new statement sent to InfoSync World, the company has said it will bring more in, if there's a demand for them. Sharp will "make the Zaurus SL-6000 available to existing corporate customers in the US". But there will be no follow-up to the SL-6000 "in the immediate future".

The statement suggests that said customers didn't take kindly to the company's original announcement, and so Sharp is ensuring they can continue to buy SL-6000s. But it's providing them with no apparent upgrade path.

And for individual buyers, it looks like the machine has no future in the US. While sales to individuals have not been huge, the SL-6000 has won strong support among techies for its Linux foundation and its Java support. The devices was the first to market with a 480 x 640 display, and provides Wi-Fi and a QWERTY micro-keyboard.

Sharp's online retail partner in the US, Amazon, is still offering the unit, at $200 off its $700 price. Its corporate sales partner, PC Connection, simply states: "The product you are trying to view does not exist." ®

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