Royal Leaps To The Leading Edge With Linux PDA

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Royal made an aggressive push in the handheld category as it introduced new product formats and unveiled at CES a Linux-based DaVinci model that may ship as early as this summer. The company also showed its first professional DaVinci with an outboard modem for e-mail and web browsing.

The Linux-based DaVinci Palm-style PDA is expected to feature either 4MB or 8MB of memory and ship with a docking cradle for PC synchronization. It will have a 360 x 240 resolution display and carry an estimated price of $149, or $199 with modem.

"There are currently tons of applications for Linux," said marketing VP Todd Althoff, "so we expect that there would be many third-party applications for this product. We are already talking to developers."

Royal's new DaVinci Pro comes with a modem that is smaller than a cigarette pack and attaches to an RJ-11 jack. The new DaVinci Pro has an improved display and ships with 3MB of memory, as well as a web browser for receiving text pages from the Internet.

Like other DaVinci models, it can hook up to a collapsible keyboard. The DaVinci Pro is expected to ship in May or June and has a tentative suggested retail price of $149.

The DaVinci Xpress -- a stripped-down Palm-style PDA with stylus input only and no handwriting recognition -- is also expected to ship this summer. The device will feature 1MB of memory and comes in assorted colors at an estimated price of $69-$79.

The Vista organizer is one of Royal's products featuring a new form factor. A credit-card-size organizer with a detachable mini-keyboard, the Vista offers full synchronization with Microsoft's Outlook and Schedule+, plus Lotus Organizer, ACT! and Goldmine.

The Vista is similar in size to the Franklin Rex, however, it does not act as a PC card. It has 256K of memory and comes with a cable and software for inputting schedule, phone book and to-do lists via the PC. Users also can input data via the connectable, collapsible mini-keyboard.

The unit has an eight-line display, comes with an expense manager and full-function calculator, and performs metric and currency conversions. The Vista is scheduled to ship in May or June with a suggested retail price of $49.99 including keyboard, PC cable, software and case.

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