Sharp today announced a new Windows-based tablet-type personal computer aimed at business applications.

Based on an Intel Pentium II 266MHz processor, the RW-A230 "Copernicus" tablet is aimed at jobs such as data entry, as a database access terminal, a display terminal or as a basic mobile terminal for workers on the road.

At just 925 grams - significantly less than most notebook personal computers - the machine is easy to carry and its 8.4 inch touch-panel TFT (thin film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) screen means there is no need for a keyboard.

A special feature of the machine is the hot swap battery mode, which allows the standard two-hour battery pack to be changed without the machine being switched off.

Other features include 64MB of main memory, a 6GB hard disk drive, PC Card and Compact Flash card slots, a built-in speaker, a USB interface and an infrared port.

The Copernicus will go on sale in Japan on Wednesday with an expected retail price of around £1400. Sharp said it plans to put the device on sale overseas under a different name although has no definite schedule at present.