Sony Debuts First Japan-Only Clie

by Reads (35,128)

Sony has announced the Clie PEG-VZ90, a multimedia-oriented handheld. Unfortunately, this model will only be available in Japan.

Possibly the most interesting thing about this model is its OLED screen. OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays take advantage of the fact that some organic compounds glow when an electrical current is applied to them. This means there is no need of a backlight, as the individual pixels provide their own light. This allows OLED screens to be thinner and lighter than standard LEDs. Colors also tend to be more vivid.

The VZ90’s 480-by-320-pixel display is 3.8 inches when measured diagonally. Unlike the UX series, this model isn’t locked into landscape mode. Some applications can be run in portrait mode.

Sony Clie PEG-VZ90 This device has a design not used by any previous Clie. It has a tablet shape, but its screen slides up to reveal a D-Pad and the hardware buttons.

The VZ90 does not use Palm OS Cobalt. Instead, it runs the Japanese version of Palm OS Garnet 5.2.1 on a 128 MHz Handheld Engine, Sony’s proprietary processor.

It has 64 MB of RAM, of which 40 MB is available to the user. In addition, it has 128 MB of ROM, of which 95 MB is available to the user. The VZ90 also has a Memory Stick slot.

The VZ90 doesn’t stop with a Memory Stick slot. It also sports a CompactFlash Type II slot that can be used for both memory cards and certain wireless cards. However, it supports only up to 2 GB of memory and doesn’t support microdrives.

Sony is emphasizing this device’s multimedia capabilities. Sony’s Handheld Engine allows it to play video in a proprietary format at 30 fps. Of course, the VZ90 can also play audio in a variety of formats.

This handheld has built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking, but not Bluetooth, which hasn’t really caught on in Japan.

Sony is touting this model’s battery life. It claims the VZ90 will last twice as long on a single charge as the TH55, a model with a very impressive battery life.

The Clie PEG-VZ90 will go on sale in Japan on September 25. It will sell for 89,800 Yen (about $820). Sony announced this summer that it will introduce no more handhelds outside of Japan, at least for the rest of this year, so this model won’t officially be available in other countries. However, some retailers regularly buy products in Japan and export them to other countries. Still, it is unlikely that any VZ90 sold in the U.S. will include an English version of the operating system.

More information on this model is available on Sony Japan’s web site.

Thanks to Eugene for his help with this article.

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