Fujitsu to launch first PDA in Q2

Fujitsu has taken the wraps off a personal digital assistant, the company's first, which will be sold worldwide from the second quarter of this year, the company announced on Tuesday.

The Tokyo-based company is planning to sell its Pocket Loox PDA in Europe, Japan, North America and other Asia-Pacific countries, but has not decided where it will ship the new device first, said Tomohiro Onagi, a spokesman for Fujitsu.

The Pocket Loox is based on Microsoft's Pocket PC 2002 software and an Intel PXA250 XScale microprocessor. The Japanese model will be equipped with 64MB of RAM, a 3.5-inch (87-millimetre) 240 x 320-pixel reflective LCD (liquid crystal display) capable of displaying 65,536 colours, a Compact Flash memory card slot, and a Secure Digital card slot, a company statement said.

The specifications for the product will vary somewhat by region, Onagi said.

The PDA was jointly developed by engineers at Fujitsu in Japan and at Bad Homburg, Germany-based Fujitsu Siemens, a joint venture of Fujitsu and Munich's Siemens, Onagi said. The Pocket Loox will be priced around $US467 in Japan and is expected to be have a similar price in other markets, he said.

Japanese hardware makers, such as Toshiba and Hitachi, have recently entered the PDA market, domestically and globally, intensifying competition. NEC, after having delayed the launch date of its first PDA product, is expected to ship its PocketGear PDA on March 15, the company said.

The launch of the new Fujitsu machine and NEC's PDA come as two of the strongest players in the Japanese PDA market are preparing to launch new machines. Sharp and Sony have both announced new versions of their PDAs, each equipped with digital still cameras. Sharp has also announced plans to begin selling its Zaurus line of machines overseas.

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