Sony has experimented with mini notebooks in the past, but the new CLIE PEG-UX50 takes miniaturisation down to a whole new level. The screen swivels a full 180 degrees so that you can also use the device as a traditional handheld. The UX50 measures just 10.4cm by 8.6cm by 1.9cm, and at 176g, it weighs about the same as other handhelds with integrated Wi-Fi.
On top of Palm OS 5.2, the UX50 packs a backlit keyboard, a 320 by 480-pixel screen, a 0.3 megapixel VGA camera, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. The device has a 123MHz processor, 29MB of available RAM, and 16MB of spare ROM. Like all high-end CLIEs, this model supports MP3 and MPEG playback, and it has a stereo headphone jack. The processor is an interesting component. It’s a brand-new power-frugal Sony CPU called the Handheld Engine that uses 64Mbit embedded DRAM technology to deliver smooth video playback at low clock speeds. Efficient power management is taken care of by DVFM (Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Management), which automatically selects a clock speed (between 8MHz and 123MHz) and then uses a speed monitoring function to select a matching voltage. The Handheld Engine also promotes miniaturisation by integrating a 2D graphics accelerator and interfaces for the digital camera and the Memory Stick slot. Priced at around £600 (to be confirmed), this CLIE may be beyond the majority of consumers and business users. However, you can expect to find plenty of older swivel-screen CLIEs on eBay as gadget-lovers attempt to raise the funds to purchase this pocket dynamo. The PEG-UX50 will be out in September, but Sony should accept preorders soon.