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Additional Details on the New Sony NR Series

NR70V Since Sony announced the PEG-NR70 and PEG-NR70V in Japan earlier this week, they have garnered unprecedented attention. While as much information was released as possible immediately after the announcement, the original report was a bit sketchy in some areas, mostly due to the English/Japanese language barrier but in some cases because the information simply wasn't available yet. Some additional details on these new handhelds is now available.

This isn't a full repeat of everything from the announcement article. If this is the first you've heard of the NR series, you should read that article first.

Audio Playback
The NR series has the enhanced speaker from the T series. Unlike the N760C, which they are replacing, they can play MP3s through this built-in speaker without the headphones. Of course, music sounds better and louder through the earbud headphones. Unlike previous models, there are small openings on the back to let the sound pass through.

There is a rumor going around that they have also can do audio recording. This simply is not true.

Screen Screen
As everyone should know by now, these pack a 480 by 320 16-bit color screen. According to witnesses, the screen is brighter than a T600C but not as bright as an N750C at max brightness. The brightness level is adjustable. The colors are better than on the T series model, too, with stronger reds.

Virtual Graffiti Area Virtual Graffiti
According to people who have had an opportunity to take these handhelds for a test drive, Virtual Graffiti is on by default. The application launcher always has the Graffiti area up and there is no way to turn it off. The NR series comes with a couple of apps that use the full screen, like an image viewer. However, the built-in apps, the Address Book, Calendar, etc., have the Virtual Graffiti area displayed and there is no way to switch to full-screen mode.

It will be up to individual developers to create apps that make use of the larger screen. Sony has given developers access to the the APIs needed to create applications for its hi-res screens before. It is only logical that they will do so for this new screen.

When writing in the Graffiti area, lines appear briefly on the screen where the stylus touches. This provides feedback for the user.

Actually, the Graffiti area isn't the only option. These handhelds can also display a virtual keyboard, useful for some when in tablet mode.

When these handhelds are in tablet mode, the hardware buttons aren't accessible. They have been replaced with small icons on the bottom of the screen. There is also a battery level display there.

Keyboard Keyboard
The keyboard uses a mostly QWERTY layout with some changes for Japanese localization. Of course, it may change on the U.S. and European version but they won't get too far away from QWERTY.

The keyboard is not one piece of soft plastic like some small keyboards. Each key is an individual piece that moves when pressed.

NR70 and T600C Casing
As stated earlier, the NR series is 5.4 by 2.8 by .65 inches when closed. Though no one would call them slim, they have a fairly normal width and depth. However, they are the tallest Palm OS models to date. A comparison with Sony's T600C really brings this out.

It's made of magnesium, which is stronger and more scratch resistant than aluminium. It uses the same HotSync port from the T series so these can share many of the same peripherals.

In one of the most unusual features of the NR series, the stylus slot is on the bottom, next to the HotSync port.

Camera Shutter Button Camera
The camera can rotate, allowing it to take a picture of the user or of what the user is looking at. It automatically flips the image when the camera is rotated so it isn't upside down.

There is a button to the left of the camera on the outside of the hinge that, when pressed, launches the camera application. If it's already running, a picture is taken.

Memory Stick
Despite some people's hopes, the NR series has only one Memory Stick slot. The Memory Stick fits almost all the way into its slot, sitting deeper than in any previous model.

Thanks to Eugene in Japan and everyone who helped gather the information in this article. Special thanks to ClieClub and ZDnet Japan for the pictures.-Ed

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Needs a Phone MS, then I'll buy!

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 4:36:10 PM #
Looks like an awsome device! SONY, make available a Phone (GSM/CDMA) MemoryStick for this device and you've got yourself a new customer!

RE: Needs a Phone MS, then I'll buy!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 4:43:48 PM #
Personally, I'm waiting for the Microwave memorystick. You point it at some food and it warms it up for ya...

RE: Needs a Phone MS, then I'll buy!
higgy @ 3/13/2002 4:50:22 PM #
I want the memory memory stick so I can remember where I left my socks.

On the semi serious side, I will stick with the M515. One reason: size. I carry the thing everywhere. I figure the more I carry it, the more I will use it. the M series (and V series) has held up for me in the worst environments literally around the world (several times at that).
I have never listened to an MP3, so I would look at a version with out that stuff inside. (It may be smaller also.)
The big thing is I bet this is so proprietary that when OS5 comes out there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth when it is not supported on these things (things = NR series).
Sony does seem to be making a serious move on the consumer side of the house... But I could see where corporations would pull their hair out with the swift changes in the Sonys.

Higgy

RE: Needs a Phone MS, then I'll buy!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 4:55:28 PM #
you could probably accomplish that with the Springboard electric massager that came out last year.

15 minutes on the "shiatsu" setting will cook a 4oz beef patty to medium rare.

:P

RE: Needs a Phone MS, then I'll buy!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 5:16:35 PM #
"The big thing is I bet this is so proprietary that when OS5 comes out there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth when it is not supported on these things (things = NR series). "

Thanks for your info. really seriously which part of the device is proprietary, I only know sony changed the screen resolution that's about all the things they changed.

When OS 5 comes out this will be proprietary as any palm OS Device running draball VZ processors.

RE: Needs a Phone MS, then I'll buy!
james_sorenson @ 3/13/2002 5:22:42 PM #
Okay, getting back to the original thread, I'd like to "me too" the whole idea of having a Clie cellphone. I don't think this is possible with a memory-stick, though. Cell-phones need more power, an antenna, etc. and I don't think this has the microphone. However, a CLie model that replaces the built-in camera component with a built-in cellphone component would be excellent! The Treo for those who want a small and basic communicator. The Clie-Phone for us power-users who want the world in our hands.

-------
James Sorenson
RE: Needs a Phone MS, then I'll buy!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 5:39:03 PM #
By "World in your hands" did you mean 2oz more and a hires screen?

RE: Needs a Phone MS, then I'll buy!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 6:26:46 PM #
I would prefer cell phone or other wireless technology to the camera. If these make to the US I will buy one but won't spend the extra money on the camera equipped model.

RE: Needs a Phone MS, then I'll buy!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 9:24:05 PM #
Totally agree with the comment about ditching the camera for a phone. Given the format and file size of the Clie's camera the camera seems like a novelty rather then a real tool. I see it as almost useless. On another note, as a designer, I applaud Sony's committment to design of the Clie and still would love to see a cell phone slipped into its compact package. I assume this would be best accomplished through a headset using a jack (or how cool would it be to use a Bluetooth Headset and the Bluetooth MS), rather then a "Treo- like" flip device.

RE: Needs a Phone MS, then I'll buy!
fperkins @ 3/13/2002 11:12:30 PM #
I concur [with some of you I guess]. I would much rather have a phone than a digital camera.


RE: Needs a Phone MS, then I'll buy!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/14/2002 12:08:48 AM #
What about a VideoPhone? We have speed, Memory, Camera and expansion through the Memory Stick. I smell the beginnings of a VideoPhone!

RE: Needs a Phone MS, then I'll buy!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/14/2002 1:21:18 AM #
"when OS5 comes out there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth when it is not supported on these things"

Duh! OS5 won't be supported on any current Palms! It's for new CPU! No current Palm will ever run OS5.

Err... that's the point of OS5, actually.


RE: Needs a Phone MS, then I'll buy!
drixter @ 3/14/2002 10:34:21 AM #
I completely agree on the desirability of a cell phone. I currently carry three small electronic devices: palm V, cell phone, MD player for tunes. having ONE device that did all three would be a must-have for me. Not really interested in the Treo cuz after 4 years I'm tired of low res. If Sony made a NR w/ phone I'd buy it in a heartbeat! And KEEP the flip design please - they're much better for talking into.

RE: Needs a Phone MS, then I'll buy!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/14/2002 12:15:36 PM #
if sony makes a palm with phone that would be like ... right hand (Sony) fighting with left hand (Sony Ericsson), Ericsson will be unhappy and file for a divorce, then probably sony will need to pay Ericsson a certain sum of money because of the breakup.

I guess they hand an agreement to not make phone on their own, but you can wish for a phone MS Module though.

Bluetooth Phone might be better
Palm_Otaku @ 3/14/2002 6:52:12 PM #
I doubt we'll ever see a phone module in a Memory Stick for the reasons posted above.

One of the cooler solutions would be a combination of the Infostick Bluetooth MS and a GPRS and Bluetooth-equipped cell phone.

There are a number of phones that would work for this available now (Ericsson T39, T68, Nokia 6210, 6310) and many more coming later this year (Nokia 6310i; 7650, 8910; Sony-Ericsson T61g, T68i, Z700).

I just hope that the next lineup of Clies has integrated Bluetooth!

RE: Needs a Phone MS, then I'll buy!
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/14/2002 10:28:03 PM #
built in bluetooth should be coming in the next round of devices.

Very interesting but US sales will disappoint

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 4:34:58 PM #
I have seen these types of devices before in docomo cell phones. I think they will appeal to the Japanese market but not the States. I know this is a controversial opinion but only time will tell. I think integrated cameras will fail in PDAs and phones. The technology is not stable yet. You do not combine an evolving technology with other products. I do applaud the innovation as Palm OS fan. If these devices are successful all the better for the platform.

RE: Very interesting but US sales will disappoint
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 4:46:53 PM #
Time will tell ..

The camera built-in doesnt even have a flash light so it's not intend for any serious photography, basically it's like a snapshot device.

RE: Very interesting but US sales will disappoint
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 5:36:48 PM #
Ok it's a god damn PDA, why should it be anything else than a snapshot device?

RE: Very interesting but US sales will disappoint
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 5:41:24 PM #
I was talking about the camera only ..

RE: Very interesting but US sales will disappoint
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 6:46:10 PM #
To the original poster...

Check how many comments were made on the initial article? No interest? Check the CLIE forums... No interest? I don't know what the hell you are talking about!

RE: Very interesting but US sales will disappoint
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 7:54:59 PM #

Yeah, a whopping 200 people are screaming about this thing here at PIC. Whooopie...
He's talking about how here is the US, the tyical person does not want a convergence device like this. While devices like this may be the hit in Japan, things like these have never sold well in the US. The majority of the US market usually goes raw function rather than whiz-bang, look what I can do, devices like this.

Now if Sony lost the camera, keyboard and just made it a 66mhz PalmOS with MP3, (The T750 we thought they were going to release) that may sell in the US.


RE: Very interesting but US sales will disappoint
skytraveler @ 3/13/2002 7:57:53 PM #
There may be a lot of interest in this forum, but we represent a very small percentage of the public. If we are the only ones buying this device, then Sony would be in trouble. The general public may not be ready for a device like this since most of them seem to treat their Palm device like a glorified telephone book.

The SkyTraveler
RE: Very interesting but US sales will disappoint
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 8:07:37 PM #
On the contrary, I think US sales will exceed expectations (but only in comparison to high priced PDA class; obviously, it will never outsell the M105).
Some important points to consider:
1- Coolness factor: this is one cool device. Many will buy this just to show off.
2- Built-in keyboard: many US users are more comfortable with keyboard rather than graffiti. (e.g. Blackberry; and the amount of interest the Sharp PDA with built-in keyboard has drawn).
3- Large screen: at last a screen that even PPC users would get jealous.

No, people won't buy this instead of a digital camera; or try to save the number of gadgets they will get; that's not the point. It is very cool, and US users are obsessed with anything with a flip design :-)


RE: Very interesting but US sales will disappoint
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 9:59:19 PM #
Remember that the CAMERA is only on the NR70V version, and not the NR70. There are TWO versions of NR70.

As for the keyboard, I think normal users will LOVE the keyboard and also attract new users.

RE: Very interesting but US sales will disappoint
Palm @ 3/14/2002 1:44:09 AM #
Maybe Sony was targetting the Sharp Zaurus (one of the hottest sellers in the Japanese market) with this device...

Maybe... this device won't be released outside of Japan? (unlikely IMNSHO, but...)



hgfhfhfhfhfhfh ''fsdfdksj

RE: Very interesting but US sales will disappoint
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/14/2002 7:28:12 AM #
I'm afraid the original poster is missing the point. Forget the camera -- that's just an additional gimmick. This is at the moment the creme-de-la-creme of PDAs, irrespective of OS (PPC, PalmOS, Linux). It uses a 66Mhz Dragonball (twice as much as any PalmOS device before), has a 320X480 screen (unheard of even by PPC), virtual graffiti, mp3 built-in (can listen with or without those headphones with T615C-equivalent speakers), has that enhanced 15ft infra-red remote commander function, and combines the best features of a Blackberry keyboard while allowing you to twist and hide it completely to look like a "normal" PDA.

Puhh-leeze!! This beats the crap out of anything out there so far, camera or no camera. Treat the camera as a gimmicky bonus. It's the best PDA period anyway! And it's only US$436 judging by yen prices. Price-for-feature there is no reason to get anything else unless you are strictly low-end (m105 budget).

Now think logically: why would you choose ANYTHING else over this? US sales will NOT disappoint. I'll wager you anything you want.

RE: Very interesting but US sales will disappoint
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/14/2002 8:16:34 AM #
I think the truth is somewhere in the middle...

US sales probably won't disappoint, but they certainly won't astronomical, either.
I would be willing to bet that the NR-70 will release in the US at $450, with the NR-70V at at least $500. This would explain the drop of the N760C to $400. This would mean a wide variety of PalmOS devices at all major price points. Palm will still continue to sell many of its devices (most notably the m130). While people who follow PIC might be itching to get the new Sonys, I don't think the rampant enthusiasm will be quite as high in the general public. A lot of people will see that many bells & whistles to be "too much PDA," "something else to break," etc. By some of your reasoning, there would be no point in selling a variety of camcorders, CD players, DVD players, cellphones, etc., because you argue "why would anyone buy anything else?"

Sony has ADDED two cool new models to the list of already compelling PalmOS devices; they haven't replaced the other models. To argue otherwise simply proves that you have NO COMMON SENSE. (But then, if you're an engineer, that was probably already true--sorry, just a little sarcasm based on experience)

RE: Very interesting but US sales will disappoint
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/14/2002 9:28:33 AM #
Tsk tsk I'm not arguing that there ought not to be a variety of handhelds at different price points. Choice is important, of course. I'm merely pointing out to the original poster that his idea, that US sales would be disappointing simply because it was "too much PDA" did not make sense.

Analyze it with any other consumer electronic device, say, Walkmans. Let's say Sony releases a new Walkman that completely eclipses its older models with superior features, yet doesn't price it at a substantially higher differential. OF COURSE this is going to cannibalize sales from everyone else, including older Sony Walkmans, due to the technological leap combined with value-for-money.

It's simply logical.

NR60 anyone?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/14/2002 10:36:28 AM #
Just wait for it, they will hopefully get a replacement for the T615 as well soon just hope it will have the Virtual Graffiti, big screen but in the smaller T615 package.. I would definatly buy one then!

Wait and see I will!

RE: Very interesting but US sales will disappoint
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/14/2002 10:38:59 AM #
Just to jump in here...

If Sony were to release such a Walkman, then it's likely the OTHER models would decrease in price to offset the disparity. I would think other PalmOS PDAs will decrease in price if, indeed, the NR-70/70V are released in the US at such prices.

I disagree with the initial post that US sales would prove disappointing. However, I think both of the previous posts in this thread have valid points. So why the argument?

I would like thayt sony add mini-camcorder
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/14/2002 8:33:28 PM #
I would like thayt sony add mini-camcorder

RE: Very interesting but US sales will disappoint
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/15/2002 5:06:21 AM #
Any word on when this will come to the US?

3 reasons this is a watershed device

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 4:47:31 PM #
1 - it establishes Sony as Palm's innovator and leader, a much bigger zit for Bill to squeeze that Palm or Palmsource.
2 - it leapfrogs Pocket PC for the first time in a couple years.
3 - it's a cool useful device without the above 2 reasons.

I have spoken, and whaddo I know?


RE: 3 reasons this is a watershed device
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 5:43:45 PM #
the darned thing is 66MHz. most high end phone has more muscle than that. Shall we talk about multimedia or screen?

don't make the world laugh. if that thing can play QuakeII, than maybe we can talk. (That beside the lack of FC port. ie. LAN/modem/Wifi.) Still having trouble doing web? or office compatibility?

It's a nifty gimicky toy, albeit well designed.

to leap frog mean it has to have more power than PX250, 8-10 hrs of battery, and in smaller than LOOX or Asus production model, all with standart ports. (mini USB, CF, SD)

This Clie is using motorola DB embedded processor, with very out dated OS. This is not leap frog, this is severaly behind. It's a clever hack that's about it.

RE: 3 reasons this is a watershed device
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 5:51:06 PM #
Yeah...you know, I'll bet EVERY designer, ESPECIALLY the Japanese, bases most of their innovations and design work on the following issue: "Can it play Quake II?"

Please...go somewhere else, troll.

RE: 3 reasons this is a watershed device
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 5:55:40 PM #
The"Evil Empire" has got problems. They are not fooling around with somebody with Pocket change.

RE: 3 reasons this is a watershed device
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 6:00:13 PM #
sounds like childish request but able to do Quake means the gadget has stable API for intense graphic application backed by processor power to run it, and all the associated needs like memory management, file, screen.

That's why nobody ever ask, "yeah but does it do black and white text file". Sorry to burst your bubble.

RE: 3 reasons this is a watershed device
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 6:12:28 PM #
> The"Evil Empire" has got problems. They are not fooling around with somebody with Pocket change.


M515 = $499
iPAQ 3765 = $549 ($50 rebate program from Compaq is still on)

look who is ripping of with good old 33mHz machine from the day of PalmIIIx?


RE: 3 reasons this is a watershed device
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 6:28:23 PM #
We're stooping into the religious wars of Ipaq vs. Palm where there are no winners.

"leapfrog": probably not.

"leg up" yes. Sony has set a new standard that others must follow now or build upon. This is running the current version of Palm's OS (not an outdated version) at a faster speed than anything else since Ipaq's don't outperform Palm's even with higher processors. When OS5 comes out, they'll introduce a new model that runs it. Pretty simple.

A built-in keyboard stands to attract many more new customers than any other innovation. A cell phone will mostly server to convert existing customers only.

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