Magnetoresistive RAM Coming to a Handheld Near You

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Masanobu Yoshida, president of Sony’s handheld unit, will unveil “the latest chapter of the Clie handheld” at a press conference in San Francisco on Friday. The new device, believed to be named the Clie PEG-UX50, is the same one shown briefly by a Sony executive at a press briefing earlier this year.

Information obtained by Brighthand from Sony Japan’s website shows that it will have integrated Bluetooth and 802.11b wireless networking capabilities. It will come with Sony’s suite of Internet applications, including Clie Mail as well as the NetFront v3.0 for Clie web browser.

The Clie PEG-UX50 will use Palm OS version 5.2 and run on what Sony calls its Handheld Engine. The Handheld Engine appears to consist of a Sony-made ARM926 based processor, a Digital Signal Processor (DSP), and a CXD2230GA graphics accelerator chip. Sony says this has been optimized for handheld devices, focusing on battery life and speed.

It will have 16 MB of RAM available to the user. In addition, it will have 22 MB of Storage that will act sort of like an internal Memory Stick. This Storage space won’t have the limitations that the Palm OS puts on what can be stored in RAM. Therefore this can be used for MPEGs, JPEGs, MP3, and other files that can’t go in RAM. This will allow all the features of the UX50 to be used without a Memory Stick.

Its Magnesium alloy body will measure 4 inches by 3.4 inches by .7 inches (103mm x 86.5mm x 17.9mm) and the whole device will weigh 6.2 ounces (175 grams). Like its NX series, the UX50 will have a “twist and flip” screen. This allows the handheld to be used like a mini-laptop, with the keyboard below the screen, or the screen can be flipped around and closed down over the keyboard. In this configuration, the UX50 can be used like a traditional handheld. However, at this point it appears that the screen will always stay in the horizontal orientation.

It will offer a 480×320 pixel 16-bit color landscape-oriented display. While this is the same resolution as the NX series of handhelds, Sony has slightly reduced the physical size of the screen to 3.2 inches when measured diagonally, while the NX series’ screens are 3.8 inches.

The UX50 will also include a built-in .3 megapixel digital camera that can take both still images and video.

Of course it includes a slot that is compatible with all forms of Memory Stick. It does not include a Compact Flash slot, as many recent Clies have done.

Sony says its batter will last for 14 days, with 30 minutes of use per day. It will also be offering an external battery pack that will clip to the bottom and will triple the battery life. This will allow 35 hours of non-stop audio playback or 11 hours of non-stop Wi-Fi.

The PEG-UX50 will be available in Japan on August 9. Pricing is not yet known. Mr. Yoshida is expected to announce on Friday when this device will be released in the U.S. and what the cost will be.

Thanks to Eugene with his help translating.

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