PDA News – Axim X50 photos, 5 GB Microdrives, Sony masses OLEDs

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New photos of Dell Axim X50

A user on the Russian-language site Handy.ru has posted what appear to be two genuine photographs of the upcoming Dell Axim X50. The photos tally with the vector rendering obtained by PDAclub.pl, and the photos from the FCC filing.

view larger image of Axim X50

view larger image of Axim X50

Very pretty. I keep saying that black is underused, and this is very sleek. I admit, though, that I’m a little disappointed that the X50 won’t have the classic Dell jog lever. It appears to have been replaced by a pair of buttons. These could be used for scrolling, of course, but I am as yet dubious. One of these side buttons appears to be the record button, another the wireless toggle button, and there is a third larger button above them that I am unable to identify.

I would also have liked to see an external antenna of some kind–some people might not like them, but I do. I think it adds a high-tech, connected look. Still, it’s hard to nitpick both power and style. Judging from the photos, it appears that the IR port has been moved to the upper left corner to make room for the card slots and headphone jack on top of the unit. Also, it looks like the sync connector may have changed from that on the X30s, but it’s difficult to tell.



5 GB CompactFlash microdrives hit streets

If you’re a long-time reader, you may recall the famous story of the 4 GB Hitachi micro hard drives that were used in the Creative MuVo2 MP3 player. Creative bought in bulk a standard-issue microdrive from Hitachi, which retailed for $500, for use in an MP3 player that retailed for $250. Naturally, people started pulling apart the MuVo to get at the drive for use in Pocket PCs and digital cameras. Hitachi was furious, because they thought it was cutting in on their microdrive market, but it kept going on for an eternity before they finally were able to get Creative to solder in the drives on all the new units, preventing removal. Creative, for their part, seemed rather reluctant to do this–after all, letting people rip out the drive had made the MuVo a huge sales success.

Well, it now seems that the same thing has happened. This time, it’s Seagate’s new 5 GB microdrive, and the new 5 GB version of the MuVo2, as well as one new player–the Rio Carbon, which also houses a microdrive. The drives themselves, not yet available via retail, are being extracted from the $250 audio players with ease. The 5 GB MuVos aren’t broadly available yet, but the Rio Carbon is selling for at low as $212. So, if you’re looking for some mass Storage for your Pocket PC, now might be the time.

Correction: I accidentally referred to the new microdrive as being made by Hitachi. It is actually made by Seagate. Let this be a lesson to me to avoid posting when low on sleep.

Disassembly instructions for the Rio Carbon


Sony initiating mass-production of OLED displays

Starting next month, Sony is going to start mass-production of display panels based on OLED technology. OLEDs, or organic light emitting diodes, have a number of advantages over current LCD technology. OLEDs are cheaper to build, less power hungry, brighter, more colorful, faster, and have a wider viewing angle. The catch is that OLEDs have a limited viable lifespan. Unlike LCDs, which have a lifespan of 60,000 to 100,000 hours of use, OLEDs are viable for just 10,000 hours of operating time. That’s fine if you only use it for couple hours a day, but with intensive use it would be a serious limiting factor.

Don’t expect to see these in handhelds too soon. Besides the lifespan issue, there’s a considerable amount of engineering change that would have to happen to accomodate them. Sony has launched an OLED Clie in Japan, and there will likely be a lot of devices in the Asian market to use the new technology, but I suspect that for the rest of the world, tech companies will see how the early adoption plays out before jumping onto the wagon.



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