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Sony releases two new handhelds

The additions to the company's line of handhelds come with an integrated digital audio player and flip open to reveal a color screen and keyboard.

Sony released on Monday two new additions to its Clie line of handhelds.

Both devices, the Clie PEG-NR70V and PEG-NR70, run on the Palm operating system, and flip open to reveal a 320-pixel-by-480-pixel color screen and a keyboard. They also come with an integrated digital audio player, 16MB of memory and a 66MHz Motorola Dragonball SuperVZ processor.

The NR70V is distinguished from the NR70 by an integrated digital camera, which is built into the hinge of the device.

Not only can consumers enter information using the keyboard, but they can also use the touch screen--the displays can swivel 180 degrees and be folded down to cover the keyboard.

The devices were announced in Tokyo. Sony representatives in the United States declined to comment on when and if the devices would be announced here. In the past, the consumer electronics giant has followed Japanese product announcements with similar releases in the United States.

Both devices feature a 3.8-inch active-matrix screen that supports 65,536 colors. A virtual handwriting area, which accepts handwritten commands, can be called up on each device's screen. The devices include Sony's JogDial button, which lets users navigate up and down the screen, and they support Sony's Memory Stick expansion slot.

Each device measures 0.7 inches thick, 2.8 inches wide and 5.4 inches deep. Each weighs 7 ounces.

The NR70V will be available in Japan on April 13 for about $467, and the NR70 will be available on March 23 for about $388.

Sony will also release a Bluetooth Memory Stick module on March 23.

Sony is aiming to set itself apart from other Palm OS licensees, such as Palm and Handspring, by integrating entertainment capabilities into its line of handhelds. The company has already built a digital audio player into its PEG-N760C and its PEG-T615C can double as a universal remote control.

The company recently cut the price of its N760C from $450 to $400.

Sony demonstrated the NR70V earlier this year at the annual PalmSource developers show in San Jose, Calif.