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Sony adds two PDA s to Clié range

Sony has posted two new personal digital assistants on its shopping Web sites for Australia and Hong Kong ahead of an official announcement of the products.

The latest members of the Clié line-up, the PEG-SJ20 and PEG-SJ30, are similar in both looks and specifications to the low-cost PEG-SL10 that Sony announced for some markets in late July.

SonyStyle Web sites in other regions, including those for Japan, Europe and the US, have yet to show details of the products.

Between the SL10 and SJ20, the biggest difference is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack in place of disposable batteries in the SL-10. The battery provides enough power for 15 days' use on a full charge assuming about 30 minutes' use per day, said Sony, and the device uses a similar 320-by-320-pixel resolution monochrome display.

The SJ30 is differentiated by a colour display. The 320-by-320-pixel display can show 65,536 colours and makes the SJ30 slightly heavier than the SJ20, although users probably would be unable to tell the difference.

A more noticeable difference comes in battery life. The rechargeable pack can support the PDA - with its more power-hungry colour display - for only 12 days.

Both PDAs are based on a 33MHz version of the Motorola DragonBall VZ processor, have 16Mbytes of built-in main memory, run version 4.1 of the Palm operating system, have a MemoryStick slot and include mini-USB (Universal Serial Bus) and Enhanced IrDA infrared interfaces.

The PDAs both measure 72mm by 104mm by 17mm. The SJ20 weighs 128 grams and the SJ30 weighs 139 grams, both including the stylus.

Sony is quoting a price of £193 and £263 for the SJ20 and SJ30 respectively, in Australia. A much better bargain can be found in Hong Kong, where the same PDAs are selling for £149 and £208 respectively.

The launch date in Japan is yet to be decided, said Sony spokeswoman Mina Naito. For other markets, the official line is that launches are still under consideration. But it would be an unusual and possibly costly move for the company if the PDA was not launched elsewhere.

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