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Sony updates Clie handheld

The company announces the latest version of its Clie handheld computer and an add-on digital audio player.

Sony on Tuesday announced a new Clie handheld computer and an add-on digital audio player.

The new Clie PEG N760C comes with a built-in digital audio player, version 4.1 of the Palm operating system, and a display that supports up to 65,536 colors. It will be available in October for $500.

The PEG N760C will replace the PEG N710C, which was announced in May and began shipping in June. The PEG N710C comes with version 3.5.2 of Palm's OS, and its screen supports 256 colors. Sony has yet to lay out an OS upgrade plan for PEG N710C owners.

Sony also announced on Tuesday a digital audio player module, as previously reported by CNET News.com. The $130 player, which connects to the serial port of any Clie device, will also be available in October.

The PEG N710C was something of a rebirth for Sony's handheld efforts. The first Sony device, the PEG S300, was announced in November 1999 and was largely panned for its high price and lack of innovative features.

Since the release of the PEG N710C, however, Sony has impressed those who follow the handheld market with the release of two other devices: the $400 PEG N610C, with a color display, and the $200 monochrome PEG S320. The PEG S320 is the No. 3 handheld in the U.S. retail market, according to sales data from market researcher NPD Intelect.

The new Sony device comes amid announcements from rivals Handspring and Palm. On Monday, Handspring introduced two new devices, the $199 Visor Neo and the $299 Visor Pro. Palm is expected to announce its m125 device on Thursday.