RumorMill™: Next Zaurus To Have VGA Screen, Keyboard

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Hot on the heels of Toshiba’s announcement of a Pocket PC with a VGA screen and Wi-Fi comes an unconfirmed report that Sharp’s next Zaurus will have both of these too, plus Bluetooth and an integrated keyboard.

The SL-6000 won’t be the first Zaurus to have a VGA screen and a keyboard; that honor goes to Sharp’s C700 series. But the upcoming model will have a traditional tablet shape, not clamshell design like the C700s. The keyboard will be exposed by pulling down on the bottom of the device.

According to Zaurus User Group, this model is still in development, but the site has numerous pictures of a prototype. This device should be released in the U.S. in January, though the price is not yet known.

The SL-6000 is expected to have a 4 inch CG Silicon screen, which is a larger display than the one that is in the C700 series. This has a resolution of 480 by 640 pixels, and it can be switched between portrait and landscape modes on the fly.

Like other Zaurus models it will run Linux with Trolltech’s Qtopia environment providing the user interface. This comes with a suite of PIM software, plus there are already a good number of third-party applications for this and more are coming every day.Still, there are far less than are available for the Palm OS or Pocket PC.

It is not known yet what processor this handheld will run and Sharp hasn’t decided whether to put 64 MB or 128 MB of RAM in it.

The SL-6000 will include both SD and CompactFlash slots. In additon, there will be a sled that will include a second CompactFlash slot and a battery extender. It will also have a mini USB port and can act as a USB host.

The exact size for this model is not yet known, but it will be larger than other tablet Zaurus models. Sharp says it has been ruggedized so it can survive a drop of one meter.

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