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Sony rolls out pocket-sized tablet PC

May 22, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 13 views

Sony Electronics has introduced a “pocket-sized” device claimed to offer “full-size computer performance.” The VAIO UX Micro PC is based on an Intel Core Solo Ultra Low Voltage CPU, weighs about a pound, and sports a 4.5-inch 1024×600 touchscreen display.

(Click here for slightly larger image)

Although the VAIO UX Micro comes stock with Windows XP Pro, it seems likely that Linux users will take an interest in porting Linux to the device. Another mini tablet, the Via-based TabletKiosk eo, has already run Linux. As with Via-based hardware, Sony Vaio laptops have traditionally been difficult to get fully working under Linux, however.

In contrast to typical “Ultra Mobile PCs” (UMPCs), which rely on handwriting recognition and an on-screen touch keyboard for text input, the Micro PC features a QWERTY keyboard that slides out from beneath the screen (which makes it half an inch thicker than typical UMPC designs — see table, below).

Keyboard extended

(Click each image for larger view)

The unit also comes with a stylus and Sony's “VAIO touch launcher,” said to enable quick access to frequently used functions. It's not clear whether the device provides handwriting recognition as a standard feature, although Sony could certainly provide handwriting recognition capability using proprietary software or via Windows XP Tablet Edition, as OQO recently did with its mini tablet device.

Comparing mini tablets

The following table compares a few key specs of several mini tablet PCs that have been announced over the past year or so. Of note, Sony's Micro PC is smaller and lighter than Samsung's Q1, one of the first UMPCs to ship, but has a higher resolution (though smaller) display.

Mini tablet comparisons
Device Size (in.) Screen size (in.) Resolution Weight
Sony Micro PC 5.9 x 3.7 x 1.5
1024 x 600 1.2 lb
Samsung Q1 UMPC 9.0 x 5.5 x 1.0
800 x 480 1.7 lb
OQO 4.9 x 3.4 x 0.9
800 x 480 14 oz
DualCor CPC 6.5 x 3.3 x 1.2
800 x 480 1.1 lb
Nokia 770 5.5 x 3.1 x 0.7
800 x 480 0.5 lbs (8.1 oz)

The comparison between the four Windows-based mini tablets and the $360 Nokia Linux-based 770, which sports the typical 800 x 480 display along with full wireless Internet access, is interesting. Typical UMPC pricing is currently running from double that of the 770 to over $1,000.

Summary of VAIO UX Micro PC specs

Sony lists the following key features and specifications for the VAIO UX Micro PC:

  • Processor — Intel Core Solo, clocked at 1.2 GHz; 945GMS chipset
  • Memory — 512 MB PC2-3200 400 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
  • Display — 4.5-inch SVGA (1024×600) LCD with touchscreen
  • Storage — 30 GB ultra ATA hard drive with G-Sensor shock protection
  • I/O ports:
    • 10/100 Mbps Ethernet
    • USB 2.0
    • port replicator connector
    • Audio — built-in mic and mono speakers, mic and headphone jacks
  • Expansion — Memory Stick media slot, supports optional memory stick DUO media with MagicGate functionality
  • Wireless:
    • integrated wireless WAN for access to the Cingular Wireless national EDGE network
    • 802.11a/b/g WiFi
    • Bluetooth
  • dual built-in cameras
    • front — 0.3 Mpixels
    • back — 1.3 Mpixels
  • Integrated biometric fingerprint sensor
  • Estimated battery life — 2.5 to 4.5 hours
  • Dimensions — 5.9 x 3.7 x 1.5 inches (150 x 95 x 38 mm)
  • Weight — approximately 1.2 lbs

“With this pocket PC, you can have the same functionality as your office or home PC in a device that fits in the palm of your hand,” said Mike Abary, vice president of VAIO product marketing of the Sony Electronics U.S. division.


The VAIO UX Micro PC is expected to be available in July for about $1,800, according to Sony.

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