More Sony PEO Details Revealed at Press Conference

Sony held a press conference in Tokyo yesterday to show off their upcoming Personal Entertainment Organizer. The Sony Palm-Powered device will come standard with 8 MB DRAM, 4 MB of internal flash memory and an 8-MB Memory Stick. Much of the hoopla surrounded the device's AV capabilities.

Sony says that, with average use, the Sony Palm can run for 15 days on its its embedded lithium-ion battery. To save power, it sports a transflective display -- also known as a half-transmissive LCD -- that uses reflected light under bright conditions and a backlight when it gets dim. Sony is offering a 256-color screen and a black-and-white version of the PDA.

They played a few movie clips using a third-party software viewer called gMedia. Sony officials said they were able to get playback speed of 4 to 10 frames per second using a standard Dragonball EZ CPU that was tuned up from 16 to 20 MHz and had 8 Mbytes of DRAM.

Masafumi Minami, a Sony general manager overseeing software development, said the company is also looking to incorporate other video compression standards into future PDAs, such as MPEG-4, which is favored by cell phone makers for third-generation phones. "Our strategy is to support all different formats for video and audio," he said.

For now, though, it will not play MP3s. Also, it doesn't support the white-colored Memory Sticks with copy protection features. Audio playback will be added to future versions..

Sony PEO will be released in Japan on September 9.

Thanks to TechWeb.

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Extra Silkscreen Buttons

Hared @ 7/14/2000 10:09:58 AM #
In several of the pictures I can see 4 small buttons just to the right of the Home and Drop-Down buttons next to the Graffiti area. They are labeled in Japanese so I can't tell what they do. Anyone have a clue?

RE: Extra Silkscreen Buttons
NorPilot @ 7/14/2000 10:25:24 AM #
I've seen the same silkscreen buttons on the Japanese versions of the PalmV and others.

I suspect it has something to do with the different writing systems of Japan - requiring more options than Latin alphabet users.

Just a wild guess...

Take a look at:" CLASS=NEWS TARGET=_NEW>

RE: Extra Silkscreen Buttons
Ryan @ 7/14/2000 10:26:11 AM #
Those 4 buttons are standard on all Japanese Palm models. I have no idea what they do, I assume it has something to do with handwriting input.
RE: Extra Silkscreen Buttons
Andrew Sheppard @ 7/16/2000 7:08:40 AM #
They are used for Kanji input:
(top to bottom)
- try another kanji
- accept
- switch between 2 types of phonetic writing
- Japanese/English
because the Kanji (Chinese character) writing system cannot be input by stylus, text input (as on all computers in Japan) is by Roman alphabet.

I bought my girlfriend a Visor last year, and now she wants a new one because of these buttons. The Visor sells for 300 Tokyo dollars, half the cost of a Colour PEO.

Movie on a Handheld?

Hared @ 7/14/2000 1:17:27 PM #
I don't understand the point of the thing being able to play movies. I don't want to watch a movie on a 2" by 2" (approx) screen. Does anyone? I know it's cool and all and I would love to walk around my office and wow people by showing them that my palmtop could play "South Park" but after that was over I'm not sure I'd ever do it again.

I guess someone out there does. Sony still makes the Watchman, a 2.2" TV.

RE: Movie on a Handheld?
aladfar @ 7/14/2000 1:29:49 PM #
Because it'll open up the handheld market to the porn industry! :)
RE: Movie on a Handheld?
Hared @ 7/14/2000 1:34:22 PM #
It's too late for that:" CLASS=NEWS TARGET=_NEW>

RE: Movie on a Handheld?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/14/2000 1:46:40 PM #
The idea for movies on the Palm is for future video conferencing capabilities. That way you could have a wireless meeting between you and a meeting room halfway across the world, no matter where you are. I feel sorry for business people, they can be bothered anytime anywhere with all this wireless stuff. :-(
RE: Movie on a Handheld?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2000 2:30:23 PM #
After using a Cassiopeia for a bit with some of the films from (highly recommended) I can say I would definitely watch a film on it. It may not be my preferred movie delivery method, but you could easily imagine watching Friends on the T or watching a bit of the news in the john. The films on the Palm, for now, suck though (ActiveSky). The time is coming though.

No MP3s? @ 7/14/2000 1:51:37 PM #
And it's called a "personal entertainment organizer"? It looks great, and I might even get it when it releases in the US, but that's a major set back for me. I was hoping that it would match what PocketPCs have already done as far as MP3s. But I'm sticking with a Palm for sure.

Color Screen - Gameboy's? @ 7/14/2000 3:26:35 PM #
It sounds like the color screen is somewhat similar to the CGB's, with the addition of the backlight. Any ideas on this? This could explain the fact that it's only $45 more for the color

nothing interesting

Addicted @ 7/14/2000 7:03:59 PM #
This thing is crap... It's a color visor with sony's standards. No power, bad screen (look at the gameboy color), no real innovation, no new processor, and finally no AV capabilities (no MP3 playback also). I know that some people will say that i have to buy a pocketpc if it's what i want but, again, where is the innovation in this product ????

re: nothing interesting @ 7/15/2000 12:26:43 PM #
I read something that described this as a "placeholder". I don't think there will be any major new features added to any Palm or clone until OS 4 comes out as part of the switch to much faster ARM chips. Good AV is just about impossible to do with a 16 - 20 MHz chip. Palm has (quietly) said that we can expect a handheld from them with real AV power in about a year.

RE: re: nothing interesting
John @ 7/16/2000 5:04:44 AM #
I think that Sony's PalmOS-based PDA is VERY interesting... for what it portends.

I think that Sony's ability to mass-market these handhelds worldwide will result in an even more overwhelming market leadership role for the Palm OS versus WinCE. Sony is perceived as being an 'electronic appliance' manufacturer, not a PC manufacturer (though they make PCs). The aesthetics of the Sony PalmOS units will, IMO, result in LOTS of people who have Psions, etc., to buy one. They will also most likely be much cheaper than today's Palms. Sony will sell millions of 'em.

In short, I think Sony's PDA is a serious attack on Msft's WinCE as to which OS will dominate PDAs. So far, the Compaq/HP/Phillips/etc WinCE team is losing... and Sony just added a LOT of horsepower to the PalmOS team.

As a final thought... how many of you (us) Palm owners have upgraded to new Palm models? Spending $300-$400 every two to three years is not a big deal... and how many of us will upgrade to a PalmOS 4.0/ARM PDA? I know I'll look seriously at one.

I think that Palm is on it's way to becoming the 'Microsoft ' of PDA operating systems.

MPEG 3/4 on Dragonball

Arthur @ 7/15/2000 4:20:54 PM #
I think the reason MP3 is not on the handheld is that the Dragonball processor is too weak to support it. Do you know guys if there the plans for more powerfull processors on the handhelds

Common logic

Z80 @ 7/15/2000 10:13:08 PM #
If we exclude the upgrade to the color display, which is on my personal opinion useless, though TRG's development team will sort this probably out by the commercial first of the SONY's PDA, why somebody would like to buy this PalmOS compatible and not the TRG PRO with CF which is for sure better than Memory Stick; has more uses (modems, LANs etc) and a lot of us have a CF reader/writer (well if you have a decent digital camera)? Just to cheer up SONY who wants to place on the market their own standard on storage?

Are the 4MB of flash enough when the Dragonball EZ CPU can go up to 16MB or the 2MB extra makes the difference if you can have CF?

Is the embedded lithium-ion battery better than NiMH? I think NO tell me where you will charge it on the move?

What do you/I wand to do with good/bad/whatever AV capabilities?

That's all folks! After this announcement I am definitely staying on the waiting list for something better than my IIIx and I will HotSync frequently because of my little memory :-) And a small request PLEASE do not compare ANY PalmOS device with a goggle-box running some ... OS; it is very, humiliating for you.

Trojan Horse

CliffW @ 7/17/2000 9:11:56 PM #
Cool design and thin/small form factor aside,I believe Sony's Palm device will be their Trojan horse in getting people to finally accept the memory stick after flooding the market with them. The video/digital cameras, computers, and even their Aibo robotic dogs all sue the memory stick and have only really been successful in Japan like the MD (mini disk). These chewing gum stick shaped media will infect a majority of devices if Sony has there way.One good thing, atleast this will more than likely ensure the palm platform's lead over Microsloth's PocketPC for some years to come.

monopoly @ 7/18/2000 4:06:47 AM #
Come on . I was hoping the sony was going to be the one, turns out its just the same as the IIIc with memory sticks expansion port ( which still don't hold a nut to the TRG pro ) and over clocked to 20 mhz . This is bad all over , Palm has such a market share that its all right to keep feeding us 5 years old technology . Lets see a compact flash slot with some decent accesories (network , memory , modem ) , fast enough cpu to run mp3's and a nice color screen all for the price of a palm V . It would seem to match the price of some of crazy Bill's pocket pc machines.

Another Sony Page @ 7/18/2000 9:53:43 AM #
Here's another Sony advertising page for the devices (in Japanese)." CLASS=NEWS TARGET=_NEW>

Nothing new!

Edouard Lombard @ 7/22/2000 7:41:41 AM #
I think Sony brought nothing new to the PDA world, except they included the memory stick, just to promote this uninteresting technology. The design is ok but nothing that good. The worst is that they claim to include multimedia technology, when everyone knows it's not usable even with an overclocked 20MHz processor. My conclusion is that they just wanna say "Sony doesn't wanna be excluded from the PDA market", but I doubt very strongly that they're going to succeed in it as well as in the videogames market.


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