By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Sony has launched a handheld PC it claims is the smallest and lightest notebook computer in Australia – the Vaio UX17, which weighs just 517 grams and runs a full version of the Windows XP Professional operating system.

The Vaio UX17 (RRP $2,499) is somwhere between a ultra-portable laptop and a PDA, featuring a high resolution (1024×600) 4.5-inch LCD screen with touch-sensitive operation, which slides up to reveal a QWERTY keyboard for thumb typing.

The model also features a 1.2GHz Intel Core Solo processor, 512MB RAM and a 30GB hard disk.

“Providing our mobile customers with a complete computing solution is a key focus for Vaio,” said Sony Australia product manager – Vaio, Hiro Ishikawa.

“Through this truly portable offering, Vaio delivers the same level of functionality as a large scale laptop, in a device that fits in the palm of your hand – perfect for those always on the move. The UX17 represents new possibilities for the mobile computing market.”

Although the UX17 is designed primarily for business customers with features like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a fingerprint reader and three USB 2.0 ports, mobile entertainment users were also considered. The model features a built-in 1.3 megapixel camera, Memory Stick Duo slot for viewing images, up a headphone jack and up to seven hours battery life with the optional long-life battery pack.

The Sony Vaio UX17 will be available for consumers to order this month through all current Vaio retailers, however only Sony Central stores, selected Harvey Norman stores, Organiser World, TX Computers and Portacom will be given display models.