First Look: Sony’s New Palm OS Handhelds

Wayne N. Kawamoto
Managing Editor,

Sony Electronics introduced its new CLII PEG-NR70V and PEG-NR70 handhelds. According to the company, its latest handhelds pack performance features in an elegant, new design that offers a rotating color LCD screen. The handhelds support Dragonball Super VZ (66MHz) processors and have up to 16 MB of DRAM (15 MB available) to support faster, more intensive games and movie clips.

The CLII PEG-NR70V and NR70 handhelds offer three configurations:

OPEN – The devices open in a v-shape configuration for screen viewing and access to the integrated keyboard. Users should be able to type quick notes to friends or update Microsoft Word application documents with supplied Documents To Go 4.0 Standard Edition by DataViz, Inc.

TURN – Rotate the screen 180 degrees and then fold it to cover the keyboard. This configuration may be ideal for taking pictures with the built-in camera or jotting down notes using virtual Graffiti, a software-based Graffiti pad.

CLOSED – Rotate the display back 180 degrees and close it to protect the screen from accidental taps and scratches-an ideal position for listening to the integrated MP3 player with the LCD turned off to extend battery life.

In addition to the built-in keyboard, virtual Graffiti and an on-screen keyboard, both models feature the Jog Dial navigator with a back button for single-handed operation, which helps scroll through menus and supported applications.

Sony says that its CLII PEG-NR70V handheld is the first Palm OS-based device to feature an integrated digital camera, located on the hinge connecting the screen and keyboard. Users should be able to capture pictures by pressing a button that launches the CLIE camera application. Once activated, this button takes digital images. The camera lens rotates 300 degrees to enable multiple shooting angles. Images can be saved directly to the internal memory or to a Memory Stick media card in three digital image sizes (320 x 240, 160 x 120, or 88 x 88 pixel resolutions). Sony claims that its CLII NR70V and NR70 models offer the highest resolution screen (320 x 480 pixel resolution on supported applications) available on any Palm OS-based device.

The CLII Paint application converts a stylus into a virtual paintbrush, enhancing photos with an expanded collection of digital stamps, including flowers, symbols and dialogue bubbles. Finished creations can be saved on a Memory Stick card in the JPEG format for printing and sharing.

Both new handhelds offer an integrated digital audio player and come supplied with an in-line remote controller and earbud headphones. Users can listen to their favorite songs stored on the optional Memory Stick card. Through the integrated speaker, users may listen to audio files without the use of headphones.

Appointment reminders can now be customized. Both the CLII NR70V and NR70 models enable users to select preset sounds or to convert select MIDI and WAV sound files on a PC with the bundled Sound Converter application.

Both units incorporate an enhanced infrared port and Sony’s CLII Remote Commander application that transform the handhelds into universal remote controllers capable of commanding system settings on most DVD players, TVs, VCRs and AV receivers – all from a distance of up to 15 feet.

While both handhelds come with a lithium-ion polymer rechargeable battery, power users have two new energy options: the PEGA-BC10 battery adapter and the PEGA-DC10 car battery adapter. The new PEGA-BC10 battery adapter offers a lightweight and convenient way to charge on the fly. Users may insert four AA batteries (sold separately) into the adapter and connect to the serial port of a CLII T or NR series handheld to extend operating hours. Users can also switch the adapter’s three-position indicator between on, off and charge to get extra battery power whenever they choose. Commuters can charge on the way to work with the new PEGA-DC10 car battery adapter by plugging it into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter port to charge on the road. Passengers can enjoy games and MP3s on the CLII handheld while the device charges.

Pricing and Availability
The CLII PEG-NR70V handheld with integrated camera and MP3 player will be available at retailers nationwide the beginning of May for about $600. For users looking for MP3 playback who do not need the integrated camera, the CLII PEG-NR70 model will ship in the beginning of May for about $500. The PEGA-BC10 battery adapter and PEGA-DC10 car battery adapter will be available for around $40 each.

Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing addresses the technology needs of small businesses, which are defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees and/or less than $7 million in annual sales.

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