Sharp shows off clamshell Linux PDA

The new Zaurus model has an unusual form factor and a high-resolution screen, squeezing a PC-style display into a pocket-sized device

Sharp has introduced a new model of its Zaurus handheld computer, sporting a VGA-resolution display, QWERTY keyboard that can be folded away behind the device, and a screen that displays in both portrait and landscape modes.

The SL-C700, to be sold in Japan from 14 December, is Sharp's latest handheld based on the Linux operating system, specifically a distribution from Embedix. The screen can be opened up to expose a laptop-style QWERTY keyboard, or twisted around and folded back for displaying data after the fashion of a portrait-mode PDA.

Images of the device can be found on Sharp's Web site.

It uses an Intel XScale PXA250 chip running at 400MHz, with 64MB flash memory, or which 30MB is available to the user, and 32MB of SDRAM memory. It includes a SD/MMC and CompactFlash Type II expansion slots.

The 3.7-inch, 65,000-colour transmissive System LCD screen displays 640 x 480 pixels, which Sharp says allows documents to be displayed with quality comparable to that of a PC monitor.

The Zaurus comes with productivity software from Hancom, including a word processor and spreadsheet, and can synchronise with Microsoft Outlook via Intellisync software. Peripherals can turn the Zaurus into a camera or voice recorder.

The device will sell for about 61,500 yen (£320) in Japan, and will be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.

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