Sony Preparing for Release of Entry-Level Handhelds

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Sony has dropped the price of one of its entry-level handhelds and may have discontinued another as it prepares to release replacements.

SJ22 The price of the PEG-SJ22 has dropped to $149. It was released in March of this year for $199. Its price was cut to $179 only two months ago.

The SJ22 runs Palm OS 4.1 and has 16 MB of memory. Its processor is a 33 MHz Dragonball VZ. It has a color screen but can’t play MP3 files.

Sony’s last monochrome handheld may have been discontinued. The PEG-SJ20 is still listed on SonyStyle, the company’s web store, but there is no way to actually order one, as the “add to cart” button has been removed.

The SJ20 debuted a year ago. It had fairly modest specifications but its combination of low price and long battery life made it popular with cost-conscious buyers.

The Replacements?

Though Sony never gives explanations for price cuts, it is almost certainly clearing the way for a new series of low-cost handhelds.

Earlier this month, Sony demonstrated at a Japanese trade show a new entry-level handheld. According to rumor, this will be the PEG-TJ25. Supposedly, the company is also planning to release the PEG-TJ35, which will offer more features.

These will be tablet devices with 320-by-320 pixel screens. Sony has moved the Jog Dial from the side onto the front and it now takes the place of the Up/Down buttons. There will also be Left/Right buttons to either side of the Jog Dial.

Both these models will run Palm OS 5.2. Supposedly, the TJ35 will have 32 MB of user-accessible RAM, making it the first Sony model to have more than 16 MB. The SJ25 will have only 16 MB of RAM.

Rumors say the TJ35 will have a headset jack, while the TJ25 does not, which will severly limit the multimedia capabilities of this unit.

Sony says the TJ25 will cost 20,000 Yen in Japan, 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. Even the Japanese price for the TJ35 has not been announced, though it will certainly be a bit more than the SJ25.

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