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[ossig] All-in-one Linux PDA unveiled

By Winston Chai, CNETAsia
Monday, April 28 2003 9:45 AM

A Japanese firm is launching a Linux-based handheld computer sporting Wi-Fi, a mobile phone and a camera, the result of collaboration
between China, Korea and Japan.

The device is aimed at manufacturers and vendors who may wish to include customized hardware and services.

According to Japanese newspaper The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the new PDA (personal digital assistant), launched by Yokohama-based
PalmNet, measures 13 cm by 7 cm by 2 cm and comes with a wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) card.

The hardware for the new handheld has been developed by Korea-based PDA maker IMRI while the Linux operating system (OS) is the
result of a joint effort between PalmNet and the Beijing University of Technology, the report said.

PalmNet hopes to sell the new gadget to other Japanese PDA makers this September at around 70,000 yen (US$581).

The firm is aiming to ship 150,000 units of the product by the next March and is also looking the possibility of bringing the product
to Korea and China, the reported added.

A similar product, Sony's NZ90 handheld, also features a built-in camera and currently retails for about 79,800 yen (US$663). The
device, however, does not come with an integrated wireless card or telephony.

To spur content and application development for the new PDA, PalmNet will also set up a non-profit organization to publicly disclose
the source code for the PDA's operating system.

PalmNet has attributed the lack of content as a reason for lackluster PDA sales in the country. High handheld prices brought about by
Windows PocketPC and Windows CE license fees have also stifled demand, the company added.

Outside Japan, handheld sales have also been slipping. Global shipments were down more than 21 percent, to 2.45 million units in the
first quarter 2003 compared with 3.1 million units in 2002, according to market research firm IDC.

Bryan Ma, an analyst with research firm IDC Asia-Pacific, said that while global sales of pure handhelds are shrinking, shipments of
converged PDA-telephony devices are rising.


best wishes.
/nan phin

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

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