Asus unveils DiGiMatrix hi-fi styled home PC

Adds Bluetooth to PDA line, too

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Asus today unveiled an updated version of its MyPal A620 Pocket PC that integrates Bluetooth into the slimline package - claimed by the manufacturer to be the thinnest and lightest Pocket PC device with a Type II Compact Flash slot.

The Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003-based A620BT weighs in at 141g (5oz) and is 1.3cm (0.5in) thick. Its other dimensions are 12.5 x 7.7cm (5 x 3in). Inside the silver-painted plastic shell is a 400MHz Intel XScale PXA255 processor, 64MB of ROM and 64MB RAM (58.7MB of which is available to the user). The screen is the PDA standard 3.5in 240 x 320 transflective LCD.

There's a built-in rechargeable battery that offers 19 hours' usage, Asus claims - though it's probably rather less than that if you have Bluetooth switched on all the time.

In addition to Bluetooth, the device has an infra-red port, and the CF slot provides room to add a Wi-Fi card.

Asus didn't reveal UK or US pricing. ®

Home Entertainment PC

Asus also introduced its latest barebones PC, the DiGi Matrix, a system that looks more like a hi-fi separate than a 2.4GHz Pentium 4-based Windows XP Home Edition PC.

The DiGiMatrix measures 29 x 28.5 x 5.3cm (11.6 x 11.4 x 2.1in) and packs a lot of home entertainment functionality into its small shell. In addition to being a PC, it also operates as a standalone MP3 and CD player, FM stereo radio and TiVo-style personal digital video recorder.

The machine uses a custom motherboard based on an SiS 651 chipset with integrated 3D graphics. Up to 2GB of 266MHz or 333MHz DDR SDRAM can be installed in two DIMM slots, 64MB of which is grabbed by the graphics engine, which feeds S-video, TV and HDTV outputs, plus TV in, as well as standard DVI-D and VGA ports.

The DiGiMatrix crams in eight USB 2.0 ports, two 1394 ports, 3.5mm headphone and mic. sockets, S/P DIF digital audio out and a pair of PS/2 ports for mouse and keyboard. Asus also offers a wireless keyboard and mouse to go with the product, and the box ships with an IR remote control.

Speaking of wireless, 802.11b is built in, in addition to separate 10/100MBps and Gigabit Ethernet ports.

As a barebones system, the DiGiMatrix ships without a hard driver or optical storage unit, but there is room for both, connected across separate ATA-133 buses. There's a seven-in-one memory card (SD, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, SmartMedia, Compact Flash and Microdrive) reader built in, too.

Most of the ports are rear-mounted, but some are on the front, neatly hidden behind a fold-down flap that when shut preserves the hi-fi styling - as does the large, front-mounted volume control.

Again, prices were not available at publication time. ®

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