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Thursday
Jul172003

Sony's New Clie UX50 Shakes Things Up Again

Sony PEG-UX50Yeah... just like everyone else in the Palm and hi-tech world, I'm talking about the new Sony Clié PEG-UX50 today. Sorry, couldn't help it. :-)

My first whiff of the new PDA came on my morning visit to PDANews24.com. There are several detailed articles on the net today, including a nice overview at InfoSync World and the official Sony Japan site, which Craig at GearBits has conveniently Babelized. The Sony Japan site is quite informative graphically and the Babelization of the Japanese text makes for some laughs to boot.

What I immediately found interesting was that the UX50 has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth integrated into the same small device. Guess that makes the Tungsten C's lack of Bluetooth seem significantly less acceptable. I'm pretty certain the next revision Tungsten C device will include Bluetooth. ;-)

Too bad about the camera as well. It's only 640 x 480 when the latest NX series Clie devices are already at 1.3 megapixel. Could be that the space in which the camera needed to fit put limitations on the selection of cameras Sony could use, but c'mon man... even el-cheapo camera phones have better cameras than the UX50.

Further, I'm a little concerned about the keyboard, since Sony Clié devices are not known for the most ergonomic keyboards in Palm-land. The keys look a bit too close to the surface of the device. too bad Sony couldn't license a RIM patent and get a decent ergonomic thumbboard on one of their devices.

Oddly enough, all of the images indicate that the UX50 is designed to be used horizontally only. I'm hoping there's a screen rotation preference app on the device, though if there isn't one, I'm quite confident one of the many Japanese Palm OS programming wizards will have a hack compiled within 24 hours. Gotta love those wonderful Japanese Palm programmers!

One of the coolest features of the new Clié is the built-in backup app. When the system senses that the battery power is about to fail, it takes the last few drops of juice and backs up the device's RAM to your Memory Stick. Very nice. Note to PalmSource: Make this a standard part of the Palm OS so every device can take advantage of it.

But even for its few shortcomings, the UX50 looks like real killer device. What makes it stand out in my mind is the design -- you'd never see a Pocket PC looking like this and this fact alone must drive Pocket PC fanboys absolutely batty. :-)

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