Sony unveils camera-equipped clamshell Clié

Sony has unveiled two new feature-packed versions of its Clié handheld computer.

Sony has unveiled two new feature-packed versions of its Clié handheld computer.

The design of the new PEG-NR70 and NR70Vs departs from older Cliés, and from other PDAs. The clamshell packaging unfolds to reveal a 320-pixel-by-480-pixel, 3.8in LCD on the upper half, and a QWERTY keyboard on the lower half.

In normal use, some of the screen real estate is taken up with text input software. At other times, such as when the Clié's image-viewer software is running, this input software can be cleared to allow the full screen to be used.

Sony has added the 66MHz version of the Dragonball processor to both machines. The NR70V also has a built-in a digital still camera with a 100,000-pixel CMOS- perfectly adequate for taking simple snapshots.

The devices run Palm OS Version 4.1, and carry additional software including a JPEG image viewer, an audio player that can read MP3 and ATRAC3 digital music files, a viewer for Word and Excel files and the gMovie video player software.

The company also announced a long-awaited Bluetooth module, the PEGA-MSB1, which connects to the PDAs' Memory Stick slot.

Sony plans to put the PEG-NR70 on sale in Japan from 23 March. The camera-equipped PEG-NR70V will hit the shops from 13 April. The former is expected to retail for around ¥50,000 (£273) and the latter for around ¥60,000 (£327). The Bluetooth module will go on sale on 23 March for around ¥20,000 (£110).

Plans for a launch outside Japan have not yet been finalised.

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