Toshiba packs 128MB into new Pocket PC

Toshiba Corp. will begin selling from the end of next week three new models of its Genio PDA (personal digital assistant) including two that feature 128M bytes of memory -- the highest capacity yet for a Pocket PC based PDA.

All three machines are based on Intel Corp.'s XScale processor running at 400MHz, have a 4-inch Polysilicon TFT (thin film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) capable of 240 by 320 pixel resolution and 65,536 colors, and run Microsoft Corp.'s Pocket PC 2002 software. The main hardware difference comes in the amount of user memory with the Genio-e 550GS offering 64M bytes and the 550GX and 550GX/MD models, both featuring 128M bytes.

Toshiba says the latter two models are designed for business users and the company has also preinstalled ClearVue Office software in the PDA which allow users to view PowerPoint or Excel data files. The latter version, the 550GX/MD, comes with a 1G-byte IBM Corp. Microdrive hard disk drive which is plugged into the PDA's Compact Flash (CF) card slot. In addition to the CF slot, the PDAs also have a SD (Secure Digital) memory card slot.

The third model, the 550GS, is entertainment orientated and has a companion earphone with inline remote control. It, and the other two models, have support for MP3 and AAC audio files and also the SD-Audio format, which is used to store music purchased and downloaded from kiosks in some convenience stores in Japan.

All three PDAs measure 125 millimeters by 76.5 millimeters by 15.9 millimeters and weigh 170 grams. The 550GS will go on sale on Nov. 7 for around ¥60,000 (US$492), the 550GX will debut on Nov. 15 for around ¥70,000 and the 550GX/MD will be available from late November for around ¥100,000.

Toshiba said it has no immediate plans to put the PDAs on sale overseas.

Toshiba's announcement of the new PDAs comes days after the latest market research from Dataquest Inc. showed the company has been making strong gains in the worldwide PDA market in the last year. The company currently ranks as the number four PDA maker and has a 5.7 percent global market share, behind Palm Inc., Sony Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co., according to the Dataquest figures.

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