Sony is showing off at the WPC Expo 2003 in Japan an upcoming member of its Clie line. All the details on this device hasn’t been released but some information is available. This includes a picture that has been posted on the tradeshow’s web site.
This model is a tablet device with a 320-by-320 pixel screen. Sony has moved the Jog Dial from the side onto the front and it now takes the place of the Up/Down buttons.
Among the few hard facts known about this model are that will be .47 inches thick (11.9 mm) and will come in red, blue, black, pink, white and orange. It will not come with a headphone jack, and will therefore not be able to be used as a music player.
This device will run Palm OS 5.2. It is expected to be available before the end of this year. In Japan it will cost 20,000 Yen, which is the equivalent of $170 US. While it is unlikely the device will be this exact price in the United States, the Japanese price is a good indication of about what it will cost.
Due to competitive pressure, it is necessary for Sony to release a handheld like this at this price point. HP recently introduced the iPAQ h1935 for $200 and Palm is rumored to have a model coming at this same price.
According to ZDnet Japan, Sony is demonstrating at the same tradeshow a prototype for a projection keyboard.
Handheld designers are faced with a difficult task: Users want to type on a full-sized keyboard, but they don’t want to carry a full-size keyboard around. One way around this is a projection keyboard, which uses a laser to project an image of a keyboard onto a flat surface which can then be typed on as if it were actually there.
This prototype was developed by Canesta, Inc.. It is not known at this time if this device will actually be released.