Toy Box: Pretty, petite PDA late to party

PDAs. I remember when they were just all Palms. Well, except for the Newton, of course, but that relic doesn't count.

PDAs. I remember when they were just all Palms. Well, except for the Newton, of course, but that relic doesn't count.

Now they're Pocket PCs and Palm can't decide whether it's a hardware or software company. Hardware, software, hardware. She's my sister, my mother, my sister. Get it sorted guys -- if you don't know, Microsoft's going to eat your lunch.

Asus has no such identity problem. It claims its new MyPal A600 (pictured) is the "slimmest and lightest" Pocket PC in the world, despite having a name that sounds like Airbus' next model.

At 12.8mm thick and weighing 138 grammes, the A600 is a petite offering. But with 64MB of RAM and an SD card slot, and a 400MHz Intel processor to match, the Asus can play with the big boys like Compaq's iPaq and Toshiba's E series PDAs.

But where's the Bluetooth? Where's the built-in Wi-Fi? The only expansion pack at launch is a Compact Flash, and when you're competing with Compaq for add-ons you can't afford to be late to the party.

The A600 claims to have battery technology that allows the A600 to run for up to 16 hours. My Palm Vx, by comparions, seems to run for weeks without needing to be charged. Such is life.

Best quote from the Asus site: "Distinctive aluminium alloy casing delivers superior taste."

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