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Sharp aims Linux PDA at Japanese business students

Sep 16, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Sharp Japan has given US-based Linux PDA fans one more reason to wish the dollar could hold its own against the Yen. The newly shipping (in Japan only) SL-C3100 is the second harddrive-equipped Zaurus model, and it also features English-language software aimed at Japanese students.

Sharp's first harddrive-equipped Zaurus, the SL-C3000, began shipping in Japan in mid-November — about the same time that Sharp announced it would not market future Zaurus models in the US.

Demand for Zaurus models persists here, however, partly due to the many applications — including vertical market applications — written for the device's Qtopia-based Linux environment. Several online stores continue to sell and review Zaurus PDAs, however, and at least one US distributor still enjoys a direct channel relationship with Sharp Japan. However, like many goods imported from Japan, Zauruses are priced higher here than counterparts from other markets.

According to Froogle, most online stores sell the SL-C3100 for $900. Meanwhile, Archos's Qtopia-based PMA400 can be found for about $700 with a 40GB harddrive, while Palm's 4GB-equipped LifeDrive sells for about $500.

Sharp says it plans to manufacture 10,000 of the SL-C3100 per month, raising the hope that prices could drop once early demand is met.

The primary difference between the SL-C3100 and the older SL-C3000 appears to be a bump from 16MB to 32MB of Flash, probably to make room for the included English-language tutorial software, which is aimed at helping Japanese students pass the Educational Testing Service's TOEIC (test of English for international communication).

Another relatively recent Sharp Zaurus model, the SL-C1000 (streetprice $650), offers features similar to the SL-C3000 and SL-C3100, but without the harddrive.

To learn more about the SL-C3100 features and specs, refer to our earlier coverage of the similarly-spec'ed SL-C3000 here, here, here, and here.

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