Sony to unveil Palm OS device at PC Expo

First there was Handspring's Visor, now Palm OS comes to tiny Sony gadget

Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony will take the wraps of a new handheld computer using the Palm operating system at the PC Expo in New York, the company announced Monday.

The as-yet-unnamed gadget will be more compact than Palm's devices and will feature a rechargeable lithium iron battery, "Jog Dial" navigation control and a Memory Stick flash slot for expanding its memory capabilities.

The handheld computer will offer video and audio functionality and will come in a range of different colours. Sony's prototype device follows up the Visor handheld computer from Handspring which also uses the Palm OS.

This is a boost for Palm because Microsoft already has its streamlined Windows CE operating system onto handheld devices from a number of different manufacturers including Hewlett-Packard, Casio and Compaq.

"Considering their strength in producing high-quality consumer electronics products, I have no doubt that Sony's entry into the PDA marketplace will spur the growth of this category," says Alan Kessler, chief operating officer of platform and products at Palm Computing. "I can't wait for the official introduction of Sony's first PDA."

The PC Expo conference opens in New York Monday and the exhibition itself, a massive display of thousands of high-tech gadgets, will open Tuesday.

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