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Hitachi unveils wearable PC collection

Hitachi has announced plans to roll out a wearable PC with head-mounted display by the end of March 2002.

The WIA-100NB Wearable Internet Appliance will allow users to access the Internet and to browse data. The head-mounted display gives the user an illusion of a 13in display about 60cm in front of their eyes and has an SVGA (800 x 600 pixel) resolution, Hitachi said.

Aimed at workers on the move, the entire set weighs a total of 500g. This includes a 310g main appliance, an 80g head-mounted display, and other peripherals. The main appliance measures 140mm x 90mm x 26mm.

The product uses Microsoft's Windows CE as its operating system and uses a pointing device that allows a finger to trace the cursor around the screen and click on items in view.

The WIA-100NB features Hitachi's SuperH 32-Bit 128MHz RISC processor, 32Mbytes of memory, a Compact Flash slot and a USB interface. The device has a battery life of three hours.

The company has an OEM licence agreement with the US-based wearable computer maker, Xybernaut, Hitachi said.

Xybernaut will market the device to consumers under its brand name in the US as the "Poma". The manufacturer started taking orders on 7 January, and plans to ship the product before the end of March this year at a price of $1,499 (£1,044).

Hitachi will market the device to corporate users in Japan under its own brand name as the WIA-100NB Wearable Internet Appliance. The company will start taking orders from corporate users on 23 January and will begin shipping the product on 28 February for about ¥300,000 (£1,591).

"The reason why Hitachi targets business users in Japan, while Xybernaut targets consumers with the same product, is that the Japanese market has less experience in wearable computing products, so that we need to make it clear what this product can be used for," said Yoshinobu Ohinata, a spokesman for Hitachi. "Once people get used to this kind of product, our marketing strategy may change in the future."

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