CES - Royal touts low-cost Linux PDA

While Sharp's Zaurus got most of the attention in the field of Linux PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant) at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Royal Consumer Information Products quietly unveiled at the show its Royal Lin@x PDA, which is expected to hit the streets next quarter.

The Royal Lin@x is based on the same Intel 206MHz StrongARM processor that powers devices such as Compaq Computer Corp.'s iPaq and Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Jornada, as well as Sharp's Zaurus. The Lin@x features a color display, 16M bytes of flash ROM and 32M bytes of RAM, Royal said in a statement Tuesday.

When Royal's Lin@x launches next quarter, priced at US$299, it will feature applications including an Internet browser, address book, calendar and schedule applications, as well as handwriting recognition, a virtual keyboard and an MP3 player, Royal said.

The Lin@x includes a serial port, a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port and a CompactFlash Type II slot for peripherals such as a dial-up modem and a wireless LAN card, the company said. The Lin@x uses embedded hardware from Applied Data Systems Inc. and the Microwindows user interface from Century Embedded Technologies, Royal said.

Sharp's Zaurus, which is expected to launch early this year, features a color display, 16M bytes of flash ROM and 64M bytes of RAM. The device is currently available to developers for US$399, but the consumer version is expected to sell for between $500 and $650, according to Sharp.

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