Sony Officially Announces NR Series in U.S.
Sony has just announced that the PEG-NR70 and PEG-NR70V will be released in the U.S. in early May. The NR70 will cost $500 while the NR70V will be $600. Sony will begin taking pre-orders on SonyStyle, its webstore, today. In a departure from its previous policies, the U.S. versions will have the same names as the Japanese ones.
For the benefit of those who have recently been living in caves, the NR series was announced just over two weeks ago in Japan. It includes a 320 by 480, 16-bit color screen that has virtual Graffiti. It also has a clam-shell design, a built-in keyboard, 16 MB of RAM and is the first Palm OS model to use the 66 MHz Dragonball Super VZ. In addition, the NR70V has a built-in digital camera.
Both member of the NR series run Palm OS 4.1. They have 8 MB of flash ROM.
They also include a DSP chip that allows them to play MP3 audio files. They come with the same audio and video control wand from the N760C plus ear bud headphones. The screen can be turned off while playing music. Because they use a separate DSP, the user can listen to music while using other applications.
It has the enhanced speaker from Sony's T-series. The NR series can actually play MP3s and other audio clips through this speaker, though a bit quietly.
Probably the most unique feature of the NR series is its ability to take on three different shapes. It starts off in a closed position, which protects the screen but still allows the user to listen to music.
When first opened, the keyboard and hardware buttons are on one side and the screen takes up the other.
The screen can be rotated 180 degrees then folded down to cover the keyboard. In this tablet mode, the user enters text with Graffiti. The hardware buttons are hidden inside the machine so the virtual Graffiti area has digital versions.
The backlit TFT screen is 3.8 inches tall. When closed, both of these models are 5.5 by 2.9 by .69 inches. They weigh 7 ounces, including the stylus. They have a magnesium casing.
The NR series has all of the components typically on a Sony handheld, like a Jog Dial and a Memory Stick Slot. They don't actually come with a Memory Stick, though.
These models have the enhanced IR port from the T series. They have other things in common with the T series, including the same stylus and HotSync port. This means the NR series can use many of the same peripherals designed for the T series.
Because the hinge is at the top, the stylus slot is on the bottom. Rubber has been added to it to prevent the problem the T series has with the stylus easily slipping out.
They run off an internal Li-Ion battery. The company might be a bit sensitive about the battery life on this model because the official release mentions nothing about it. The company says the Japanese versions will run for 10 days, if the handheld is used for a half hour a day. The company may have been dropping some hints, though, when it brought up a battery charger and a car charger in the announcement.
The camera on the NR70V can take pictures at 320 by 240, 160 by 120, or 88 by 88 pixels. The lens rotates 300 degrees to allow pictures to be taken from different directions. Images can be saved to RAM or directly to a Memory Stick.
In addition to software necessary to use the audio player, enhanced infrared port, and camera, they come with Documents To Go 4.0 Standard Edition to allow the user to access Microsoft Office files. Of course, they also have gMovie for playing videos and PG Pocket for showing images.
Sony has not yet added support for the Mac OS or Linux. All the desktop apps supplied are for Microsoft Windows.
The NR series will become Sony's flagship handhelds, replacing the N760C, which Sony no longer has available.
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