New forays into PDA market

Although personal digital assistants aren't new, they were still hot items at Comdex. Several vendors, including Dell Computer Corp. and ViewSonic Corp., announced their first PDAs. Others, such as Palm Inc., Sharp Electronics Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co., announced new and updated models.

Dell Axim X5

Dell's Axim X5 is a handheld whose high-end specifications include a 400 MHz Intel Corp. XScale processor, 64M of synchronous dynamic RAM, 48M of Intel StrataFlash memory and Microsoft Corp. Pocket PC 2002.

It also features one Type II CompactFlash (CF) Card slot and one Secure Digital (SD) Card slot. The 3.5-inch, 16-bit color TFT screen has 240 x 320 resolution.

The Axim X5 includes a removable battery and an optional high capacity battery. The cradle can charge either type of battery while the handheld is docked, so if you have an extra battery you can keep it charged at all times and never have to go without. In addition, you can dock the device with either type of battery installed.

Prices start at $349 with the dock. A $50 rebate is in effect until Jan. 19, 2003, which brings the price to $299. You can also buy the device with a synchronization cable instead of the dock for $249, with the $50 rebate also in effect until Jan. 19. For more information, visit www.dell.com.

ViewSonic Pocket PC V35

ViewSonic's new handheld, the Pocket PC V35, features a 300 MHz XScale processor, 64M of SDRAM and 32M of ROM. It comes with the Pocket PC 2002 operating system and features a 3.5-inch transflective display with a 320 x 240 resolution.

The unit comes with one SD Card slot, an infrared port and a voice recorder. The synchronization cradle is also included. The V35 weighs only 4 ounces.

The V35 costs $299. For more information, visit www.viewsonic.com.

Sharp Zaurus SL-5600

Sharp's Zaurus SL-5600 Pocket PC is the latest in the Zaurus PDA series. Unlike most PDAs on the market, Zaurus does not run Pocket PC, Windows CE or Palm OS. Instead, it runs on a Linux and Java platform — the only PDA to do so. The system comes with applications comparable to Microsoft Word and Excel called HancomMobileWord and HancomMobileSheet.

Another unusual feature is Zaurus' built-in keypad. The design features a sliding cover that opens to reveal the keyboard.

The processor is a 400 MHz Intel PXA250, and the system comes with 32M of SDRAM and 64M of flash memory.

The 3.5-inch reflective TFT screen runs at 320 x 240 resolution. The battery is rechargeable and replaceable.

Zaurus' dual-slot design includes one Type II CF Card slot and one SD/MMC Card slot.

Pricing has not yet been determined. For more information, visit www.myzaurus.com.

Palm Tungsten T

Palm was showing its recently unveiled new line of devices, Tungsten. Its Tungsten T features a slider design that opens to reveal a Graffiti area.

The Tungsten T comes with the new Palm OS 5 operating system, which offers functionality for applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

The color screen features 320 x 320 resolution, and other features include one-touch voice recording, a new five-way navigator button and Bluetooth wireless connectivity.

The Tungsten T costs $499. For more information, visit www.palm.com.

HP Compaq iPAQ h5400

HP's latest Compaq iPAQ handheld breaks new ground and increases security with its integrated fingerprint reader. The reader uses minimal real estate because it's only a thin band that users slide their fingertip over, in contrast to more traditional readers that feature a fingertip-sized window.

The device runs on a 400 MHz Intel XScale processor and comes with 64M of SDRAM and 48M of flash memory.

The 3.8-inch screen has a 240 x 320 resolution. The battery is removable and rechargeable.

The unit includes integrated 802.11b wireless LAN, integrated Bluetooth, infrared and an SD Card slot.

The estimated price is $699. For more information, visit www.hp.com.

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