Sony unveils two new Clie PDAs, game controller

Two new PDAs (personal digital assistants) from Sony Corp. have begun appearing on the company's shopping Web sites in Asia ahead of an official announcement of the products.

The latest members of the Clie line-up, the PEG-SJ20 and PEG-SJ30, are similar in both looks and specifications to the low-cost PEG-SL10 that Sony announced for some markets in late July, according to details on the SonyStyle Web sites for Australia and Hong Kong. SonyStyle Web sites in other regions, including those for Japan, Europe and the U.S., are yet to show details of the products.

Between the SL10 and SJ20, the biggest difference is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack in place of disposable batteries in the SL-10. The battery provides enough power for 15 days of use on a full charge assuming about 30 minutes of use per day, said Sony, and the device uses a similar 320-by-320-pixel resolution monochrome display.

The SJ30 is differentiated by a color display. The 320-by-320-pixel display can show 65,536 colors and makes the SJ30 slightly heavier than the SJ20, although users probably will not be able to tell the difference. A more noticeable difference comes in battery life. The rechargeable pack can support the PDA for 12 days, a shorter time than the SJ20, due mainly to the more power-hungry color display.

Both PDAs are based on a 33MHz version of the DragonBall processor, have 16M bytes of built-in main memory, run version 4.1 of the Palm operating system, have a MemoryStick slot and include mini USB (Universal Serial Bus) and Enhanced IrDA infrared interfaces.

The PDAs both measure 72 millimeters (mm) by 104 mm by 17 mm. The SJ20 weighs 128 grams and the SJ30 weighs 139 grams, both including the stylus.

Sony, based in Tokyo, is quoting a price of A$549 (US$297) and A$749 (US$405) for the SJ20 and SJ30, respectively, in Australia. A much better bargain can be found in Hong Kong, where the same PDAs are selling for HK$1,780 (US$228) and HK$2,480 (US$318), respectively.

In addition to the new PDAs, the company also unveiled a few details of a new game controller for some of its latest PDAs. The controller straps onto the Clie and makes playing games on the PDA much easier. No price or availability details were available, beyond the statement, "coming soon."

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