PC Briefs

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Plextor Combo Drive Ships

Fremont, Calif. — Plextor is ready to start shipping its portable PlexCombo 8/8/24 8U DVD/CD-RW drive. The drive features 8x CD writing, 8x DVD-ROM reading and 24X CD reading and will carry a $279 suggested retail price. The external device uses USB 2.0 to connect to a PC or notebook, is 5.5 inches by 6.7 inches and weighs just over 1 pound.

Sony Introduces $149 CLIE

San Diego — Sony debuted its lowest cost handheld CLIE to date today called the $149 PEG-SL10. The unit is notable in that it brings a Memory Stick and high-resolution monochrome screen to the under-$150 market. The model comes with 8MB of RAM, jog dial and USB port and is expected to ship in August.

Best Buy Grows vpr Line

Minneapolis— Best Buy formalized its in-house PC vpr Matrix brand this week by ending the line's test run that started earlier this year and officially launching four PC models. The vpr line, which stands for "value, performance and reliability," is based on a fixed feature set that includes Intel processors, 516MB, six USB 2.0 ports, CD-RW and DVD-ROM drives, and five expansion slots. The entry-level 180R adds Intel Pentium 4 1.8GHz processor, 512MB of DDR RAM, 60GB hard drive and carries a $849 suggested retail price. The 226R steps up to a 2.26GHz processor and 80GB hard drive with a $1,099 suggested retail price and the next unit is the 240R, $1,349 suggested retail price that has a 2.4GHz chip and a 100GB hard drive. The flagship model is the 253R that has a slightly faster 2.53GHz processor and twin 80GB hard drives. Best Buy has a matching 17-inch monitor sold separately for $299.

Seiko Intros Handheld Language Devices

Austin, Texas— Seiko Instruments Austin introduced two new handheld products, a spell-checker/thesaurus and bilingual translator. The WP1500 can spell check 110,000 words and find 500,000 synonyms from Roget's II thesaurus. It also features several games and a world time clock. The TR2250 English/Spanish translator contains 800,000 translations, 5,500 phrases with advanced verb conjugation, world time clock and an expense manager. The devices will ship in September with $19.99 suggested retail prices.

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