Sony camera-PDA set to arrive in UK

The upcoming PEG-NZ90 blurs the boundaries between handheld computers and consumer electronics, with Bluetooth and a two-megapixel camera

Sony has confirmed that the UK will get its latest multimedia Clie handheld computer, featuring a two-megapixel camera, in mid-March -- shortly after its release in the US.

Click here to see a picture of the PEG-NZ90.

The Clie PEG-NZ90, introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, builds on the success of earlier models with built-in cameras and a clamshell design, but adds features such as television output, an improved camera and built-in Bluetooth wireless connectivity. Like the PEG-NX70V and NX60 models, it accepts Sony's Wi-Fi card for connecting to a wireless LAN.

The new device, based on Palm's OS 5, is Sony's latest attempt to join the worlds of PDAs and consumer electronics. Its camera supports two-megapixel resolutions, has a flash, 2X zoom, autofocus and various exposure settings for different lighting environments. Like some digital cameras, the NZ90 includes an AV-out jack allowing users to display JPEG images directly on an NTSC or PAL television.

Built-in Bluetooth is another major addition to the Clie line. The wireless technology is designed to connect to PCs, laptops, mobile phones and other PDAs for sharing data, playing games, or connecting to the Internet. Bluetooth is beginning to appear as standard in hardware such as the Sony Ericsson T68i mobile phone, new Macintosh PCs, video cameras and keyboards.

Microsoft is adding Bluetooth support to Windows XP and Apple has integrated Bluetooth into its latest release of Mac OS X.

The NZ90 also adds a removable lithium-ion battery, allowing users to carry extra batteries with them instead of being forced to recharge when power runs low.

The device is thicker and heavier than its predecessors, weighing in at 292g ounces, and will cost $800 (about £480) in the US. Prices for the UK have not yet been announced.

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