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Sony to debut mid-range handheld

Following a price reduction on its low-end device, Sony plans to introduce a mid-range model into its Clie line.

Following a price reduction on its low-end device, Sony plans to introduce a mid-range model into its Clie line.

Information was posted on electronic retailer PC Mall that said Sony plans to sell a Clie model known as the PEG-T415. The site said that the handheld would combine 8MB of memory, a color screen with a resolution of 320-by-320 pixels, a Memory Stick expansion slot and version 4.1 of the Palm operating system. PC Mall lists its price for the device as $289.

However, a Sony representative said late Tuesday that the specifications were incorrect and appeared to be that of the existing $499 PEG-N760C. The representative would not comment on the details of the device, including whether the device had a color screen.

Sony's new model comes amid continued decline in the average selling price of handheld devices in general. According to market researcher NPD Intelect, the average price of a handheld sold at retail stores in August was $248, down from $283 a year earlier.

The Web site did not list an availability date for the new handheld.

On Monday, Sony cut the price of its best-selling model, a low-end monochrome handheld.

Sony, which had a rough start with its first Clie, has been gaining market share this year since introducing a new family of products, including the $499 PEG-N710C, the first Palm OS-based handheld to offer built-in MP3 playback. That model has since been replaced by the N760C, which adds both the ability to display more colors on the screen and a new version of the Palm OS.

In August, Sony had 10 percent of the U.S. retail market for handhelds, according to NPD Intelect. That represents a dramatic improvement from last year when the company barely registered on the radar screen.