New Clié Available in Japan
There was a new Sony Clié released in Japan today. Sony has already posted information about it on their site, in Japanese. This makes figuring out the details very difficult for us non-Japanese speakers but with the help of Babelfish, much can be learned.
It is called the PEG-N700C and has a front lighted, reflective TFT color screen at 320x320 resolution, probably using pixel doubling in which four pixels take the place of each one in the usual resolution.
Physically, it is 4.67 x 2.80 x .66 inches and weighs 5.64 ozs. It has the fastest Palm processor currently available, the 33MHz Dragonball VZ, 8MB of RAM, and runs the Japanese version of Palm OS 3.5. It comes in only one color, silver, and looks very nice on its cradle.
Sony clearly intends this to be a multimedia device. It comes with speakers, an external music controller, and an application called Audio Player 1.0. Songs are not saved on the device in MP3 format. Music is converted on the PC into a Sony's ATRAC 3 format which can then be downloaded onto the Clié. Sony, as one of the major record labels, is very concerned about copyright protection.
Unlike previous versions of the Clié, this one supports Sony's MagicGate technology for protecting digital content. These are white, as opposed to regular Memory Sticks that are blue. MagicGate main purpose is to allow digital content to be "moved" rather than copied.
It also comes with gMovie 2.0 and something called TV Scape 1.0. This allows TV programs and other video content to be displayed on it. Sony estimates that between 60 to 160 minutes of video can be saved on a 128MB Memory Stick, depending on picture quality.
This is even a navigation application called Navin'You Pocket 1.0 that can display maps.
Sony estimates its lithium-ion polymer battery will last for 15 days of regular use, 11 hours of music playback, 3 hours of video playback.
Many of the familiar features of the Clié are still there, like the Jog-dial and the Memory Stick slot. Its cradle connects to a Windows PC via USB. There still doesn't appear to be any Macintosh support.
They are also releasing a modem designed to work with it, the PEGA-MA700. They intend to release an approximately $124 Bluetooth module in June. When asked if Sony is going to release a wireless version of the Clie, Keiji Kimura, president of Sony's information technology division, said, "We are moving in that direction.''
Sony will begin taking orders online on March 21 and be available in Japanese stores on April 7. It will cost about 50,000 yen, ($416)
"We are trying to leverage our strengths of focusing on entertainment and consumers with this Clié,'' said Mr. Kimura. "This new Clié has new features that take us in that direction.''
Sony announced in December that they were intending to spruce the device up. "We'd like to introduce features that Palm and Handspring may find hard to install," said Shinsaku Inada, a Sony general manager in charge of the device. The company is trying to improve sales of the Clié, which, after a strong introduction, have slumped in recent months.
According to Mr. Inada, the PEG-N700C will be available outside of Japan by the end of this year.
I updated the article on the rumors about the new Clié with the complete information as it came in. Some of the comments below are discussing the device when it was still a rumor so don't be confused. -Ed
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