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Sony Puts Sound, Better Display Into CLIE Handheld

Sony Corp unveiled on Wednesday a jazzed-up version of its Palm-based “CLIE” handheld personal digital assistant (PDA) featuring audio playback, an improved color display screen and longer battery life.

“We are trying to leverage our strengths of focusing on entertainment and consumers with this CLIE,” said Keiji Kimura, president of Sony’s information technology division. “This new CLIE has new features that take us in that direction.”

CLIE (pronounced “klee-ay” and standing for “Communication, Link, Information and Entertainment”) will be able to play digital audio files recorded on Sony’s memory stick, a memory storage device the size of a stick of chewing gum.

CLIE’s display improves on the first version launched last September and offers a higher 320 by 320 dots resolution and front lighting for easier viewing in poorly lit areas.

The rechargeable battery can provide power for up to 11 hours of music playback, or 15 days of normal use.

Sony’s latest PDA has been slimmed down and has a silver-colored casing with smoother lines, and is expected to be priced at about $418.

It will reach domestic store shelves on April 7, although there are no plans at present for overseas sales, Sony said.

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