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Sharp Rolls Out New Linux PDAs

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Competition in the enterprise handheld PDA space got a little more heated
Tuesday with Sharp Electronics Corp. introducing two new Linux-based models
for the U.S and Japanese markets.

The rollout of Sharp’s new Zaurus handhelds, specifically built for
enterprise users and professional consumers, comes just a week before Dell
announces its entry into the
PDA market

With Palm, Handspring and Microsoft all making waves in the commercial PDA
space, Sharp is hoping to separate itself from the pack by targeting a
hardcore technie market with the new Zaurus devices.

Sharp said the newest models — Zaurus SL-5600 in the U.S and the Zaurus
B500 in Japan — were designed for the enterprise user with a heavy workload
offering a 400MHz Intel XScale processor featuring a 32-bit instruction
cache and a 32-bit data cache and 100MHz memory interface.

The Linux-based architecture, adopted in July when Sharp replaced its
original PDA OS, makes it an ideal handheld for building customized software
for the enterprise market. Sharp said the Linux-based platform can speed up
the porting of existing applications or developing new ones with the many
freely available Linux Open Source tools and resources.

“In addition, the Zaurus SL-5600’s Linux-based platform boosts a powerful
32-bit multi-tasking operating system for mobile enterprise applications,”
the company boasted.

Retail pricing for the new PDAs will be set in the range of $500 to $600.

“The new Zaurus SL-5600 is packed with the perfect feature set for the
enterprise market,” said Steve Petix, a spokesman for Sharp’s Mobile
Solutions and IT Group. “The power and flexibility of this device puts it
in a strong position to become the handheld computing device for the Linux
and Java enterprise solutions market,” he added.

The new PDA features QVGA LCD screen technology, an integrated QWERTY
keyboard with a sliding cover, a rechargeable, replaceable 1700 mAh battery
standard and 64MB of protected flash memory, plus 32MB of SDRAM. It offers
dual expansion with Compact Flash and SD/MMC card slots.

Sharp said the SL-5600 has been built with an integrated speaker and
microphone offering corporate users a mobile enterprise device.

Wireless connectivity is handled by dual expansion slots and built-in
drivers for 802.11b wireless LAN adaptors, CDPD Wireless modem, 10/100
Ethernet, and 56K V.90 modems, the company said.Connectivity through
1xRTT and GPRS is expected in 2003.

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