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Sony Introduces Flip Screen CLIE

Sony last month announced two new CLIE handhelds that feature a rotating screen that doubles as a cover for the unit.

One of the new units, called the CLIE PEG-NR70V, is also the first Palm-based unit to incorporate a digital camera. Sony claimed it achieved the second-largest dollar share in handhelds in February, according to NPD Techworld, Port Washington, N.Y., and said it plans to double its business in 2002, according to Sony VP/handheld marketing Russell Paik, speaking after a press conference here.

NPD confirmed that Palm held the top dollar share in February with a 38.9 percent share, followed by Sony at 18.1 percent and Compaq at 17.8 percent.

At the news conference, legendary jazz musician Herbie Hancock introduced the two new handhelds, which offer an improved color screen of 320 by 480 pixels and 65,000 colors, the highest resolution screen for the CLIE to date. The screen can be flipped over to reveal a cover to protect the unit. The bottom half of the unit houses a new thumb keypad as well as control buttons.

The new units, lead by the CLIE PEG-NR70, are the first handhelds to support the Dragonball Super VZ 66MHz processor. Each has 16MB of RAM and can support faster games and movie clips, Sony said. The step up PEG has a digital camera located on the hinge between the screen and keyboard, which can rotate 300 degrees. Images can be stored directly to the CLIE or to Memory Stick, and the unit comes with a Paint application for photo enhancement.

Other CLIE features include a built-in MP3 player, IR port and Remote Commander for using the CLIE to remotely control CE products. The units also ship with a lithium-ion polymer rechargeable battery for up to 10 days of operation on a single charge. They will be available in May for $499 and $599 list prices.

Sony said it working on a phone-based handheld and a wireless solution. The company also began shipping a Memory Stick-based Bluetooth solution in Japan but has not yet decided if it will bring the Card into the United States.