Sharp Readying New Clamshell Zaurus

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Sharp is preparing to release in Japan a new model in its Zaurus line. Aside from some software changes, the SL-C860 will be almost identical to the other Clamshell Zaurus models.

Like their predecessors, this one will use a clamshell design with a VGA color screen on one side and a keyboard on the other. In addition, the screen can rotate and then be closed down over the keyboard. This allows the unit to be used like a typical handheld.

It will use a 400 MHz Intel PXA255 Xscale processor running at 400 MHz. It will have 64 MB of RAM and 128 MB of Flash ROM, of which 65 MB is available to the user. This is basically the same as the SL-C760, which is already available.

The SL-C860 will be 4.7 by 3.3 by 0.9 inches. Despite its small size, it will include a 640 by 480 pixel, 3.7-inch, screen capable of displaying 65 thousand colors. It will also have an SD Card slot and a type II CompactFlash slot. It will have a 1700mA battery. Again, this is the same as the SL-C760.

Like the 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.

The earlier models come with software that can mount a memory card as a removable drive on the user’s PC. The latest model also allows the Zaurus itself to be recognized as a hard drive under Windows.

The SL-C860 will be able to play MPEG-4 movies copied from the HG-01S, Sharp’s digital video recorder. It will also come with software capable of translating Japanese to English, and vice versa. There will also be a bundled screen capture application.

The SL-C860 will go on sale in Japan November 27. The company has not yet said what it will cost. It is not known if the company plans to release this model in the U.S., though it seems unlikely, as none of the other Clamshell Zaurus models have been.

Still, these are available from Dynamism, who imports them and converts the operating system to English. This company also intends to do the same for the SL-C860. Dynamism will also bundle a copy of Hancom’s office suite, which can use files in Microsoft Office formats.

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