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Zaurus SL-A300 claims title of "lightest PDA in the world"

Sharp's latest Linux-based handheld aimed at business users

Sharp
has unveiled the next addition to its Zaurus range of PDAs (personal digital assistants). In common with the Zaurus SL-5500, the new SL-A300 runs Linux and Java, but this time round it is aimed firmly at the business market.

To appeal to these mobile users Sharp claims that the A300 is the world's lightest colour PDA, and at 120g we can't think of a lighter handheld — its nearest rival is the 139g Palm m515.

It is pretty svelte, too, at 69.4x113x12.5mm, although it is half a millimetre thicker than the slimmest PDA — Toshiba's e310.

The SL-A300 is one of many new PDAs to use Intel's latest Xscale processor, in this case running at a 200MHz. This is backed up by 64MB of RAM and a 3.5in TFT screen.

Expansion is handled via an SD (Secure Digital) slot. Battery life is claimed at 12 hours with the backlight off, and with an expansion adaptor it can be used on a wireless LAN.

The Zaurus Shot function allows users to transfer a PC screenshot, such as a web page, an Excel document or a PDF (portable document format) file, to the PDA via a USB cable, simply by pressing the Print Screen key on the PC.

This means that when you go on a business trip, you don't have to carry lots of documents or a notebook PC with you; instead you can keep all the files you need to refer to on your PDA — though we assume this is in an uneditable format.

When connected to a PC by a USB cable, the device can work like an external hard drive. Data can be copied to the Zaurus by a drag and drop operation from the PC. Word and Excel application formats, and Jpeg, BMP, GIF and PNG image formats are compatible with the Zaurus' applications.

The SL-A300 will ship first in Japan on 12 July, but it is expected to be launched in the UK this autumn. It costs ¥49,000 (£268) in Japan, but UK pricing has yet to be set.


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