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Sony will ship an updated version of its Vaio U-series tiny PC next month, increasing the micro marvel's hard drive capacity and processor speed.

The Vaio VGN-U71P is based on a ultra-low voltage, 90nm 1.1GHz Pentium M 733, up from the previous model's 130nm 1GHz CPU. The new chip offers 2MB of L2 cache - double that of the previous Vaio, the VGN-U70P. The hard drive capacity has also been raised, from 20GB to 30GB.

Sony Vaio U70 with 'fin' stylus and remote control

Like the VGN-U70P before it, the new model contains 512MB of DDR 2 SDRAM and runs Windows XP Pro. The unit measures 16.7 x 10.8 x 2.6cm and weighs just 550g. Much of the machine's face is taken up by an 800 x 600 transflective colour LCD. Inside is a rechargeable battery with capacity sufficient for three hours' operation, Sony claimed.

The unit also provides Compact Flash and Memory Stick ports, and incorporates 802.11g wireless networking. The unit ships with earphones, a unique lead-shaped stylus, a foldable USB keyboard and a docking cradle.

The U71 goes on sale on Japan on 6 December, priced at around ¥199,800 ($1893) - several thousand yen less than the U70 was put on sale at last May. ®

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