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Sony to debut handheld PC in U.S. to tap the demand for e-organizers

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NEW YORK — Sony Corp. said it will start selling a handheld personal computer in the United States in September for about $400 as the company looks to tap rising demand for electronic organizers.

Sony's device, dubbed the Clie, runs on the same operating system as Palm Inc.'s organizers and includes Palm's address book and calendar. Sony hopes to emphasize entertainment functions available with the device through its Memory Stick removable storage devices, which are the size of a stick of chewing gum and can hold as much as 64 megabytes of data.

The Clie will allow users to listen to music, play games and watch videos contained on Memory Sticks. Sony is also working on functions such as a digital camera and voice recorder. Sony said it also has software which can store digital images on the Clie and associate them with entries in the address book.

At about $400, Sony's device is more expensive than the cheapest machines from Palm and Handspring Inc. and about the same price as the Palm Vx. Microsoft Corp. also makes competing software for hand-held computers made by companies such as Compaq Computer Corp.

Clie stands for Communication, Link, Information and Entertainment.