Sharp has added a hard-disk drive to its latest Zaurus PDA, and is now considering selling the Linux-based device abroad.
The SL-C3000 PDA contains a 4GB hard-disk drive from HGST - about 30 times bigger than its previous PDA model, the SL-C860, which had 128MB of Flash memory.
"We wanted to put in a hard disk before, but they were too big and too heavy," said Hirohide Nakagawa, group general manager of Sharp's information and communication systems business group.
The new model, which is 124mm wide, 87mm long and 25mm thick, contains a 416MHz XScale processor by Intel - marginally faster than the SL-C860's 400MHz version. It has 16MB of flash memory, 64MB of SDRAM and a 3.7-inch VGA 640x480 screen, which swivels and folds onto the body of the device.
A built-in Qwerty thumb keyboard means the SL-C3000 is designed to meet just about any personal and business use, according to the blurb.
It is Windows Media Audio (WMA) compatible and plays Mpeg-2 video. It has the Lineo uLinux operating system, and can act as an external hard drive. Users can drag and drop Microsoft Office software, such as Word and Excel and files, and the full range of image files onto it. It can store about 700 MP3s.
The Zaurus is also designed to work with a wide range of devices. It has an SD memory card slot, USB and irDA infrared ports and wireless LAN capability. It also has a CompactFlash card slot.
Prior Zaurus models were Java enabled, but Sharp decided not to add Java to the new model, said Takeoki Asahi, manager of the company's mobile communications product division. "We did a survey, and the majority of respondents said they didn't use Java," he said.
Unfortunately, it is only available at the moment within Japan. Although that may soon change, Nakagawa said. At the moment, Sharp plans to produce about 15,000 of the models each month. New versions may also come with digital terrestrial TV tuners, and/or digital satellite broadcasting tuners.
The SL-C3000 will be on sale in Japan on 10 November for ¥80,000 (roughly £500).