RumorMill™: Details on Upcoming High-End Sony Clies

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Sony always tries to stay on the cutting edge with its Clie line of handhelds. It’s NX series has been out for over five months so it isn’t unreasonable to expect the Japanese electronics giant to release an updated version soon. However, everything that follows is unconfirmed and any or all of it could be incorrect.

According to one rumor, the next high-end Clie model will be a speed-bumped version of the NX70V. It will offer a 300 MHz processor, a 1 megapixel camera, and built-in Bluetooth. Of course, it will use Palm OS 5. One version of this rumor says the device will have 32 MB of RAM. Another says it will have 16 MB, all of which will be available to the user.

This is a reasonable set of specifications. There is a 300 MHz version of the XScale processor used in the NX70V. In fact, there is a 400 MHz one. And Sony’s last two high-end models have included Bluetooth wireless networking.

Garmin has already announced that it will release a Palm OS 5 model with 32 MB of RAM so it is possible. However, this took a lot of work modifying the Palm OS. It would be almost certainly be easier for Sony to make a model that has the same amount of physical RAM but allows the user to access more of it. The company’s current Palm OS 5 models have 16 MB of RAM but only 11 MB of it is user accessible.

The NX70V has a less than 1 megapixel camera and some complained that this was too low a resolution. The NZ90 has a 2 megapixel one, which made the device quite large. Sony may have gone for a compromise by offering a higher resolution camera that doesn’t require the Clie to be quite so big.

If it follows the NX series pattern, it will have a clamshell shape, a 320-by-480 pixel screen, and a built in keyboard. There are no details available out the rumored devices exact size, cost, or release date.

Handheld Digital Video Recorder?

There is also a rumor of a new Clie model that transcends anything offered before by Sony. Reportedly, it will have an internal miniature 5 GB harddrive, similar to the one in Apple’s iPod. Its cradle will have a video port on it that will allow the device to record digital video in MPEG4 format onto this harddrive.

It’s built-in 300,000 pixel camera can record video at 30 fps and play back at 320 by 240 pixels.

Supposedly this handheld will have Bluetooth wireless networking. In addition, rumor has it its cradle will also have built-in Bluetooth which will allow the handheld to wirelessly HotSync.

It will be in the general shape of the NX series and NZ90. It will run Palm OS 5 on a 200 MHz processor. A seperate Digital Signal Processor (DSP) will handle the video encoding and decoding.

This device is technically possible but there are questions about whether it would have an acceptable battery life and size.

There is no word on when this device might be available.

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