NEW PRODUCTS SONY TO INTRODUCE 'PALMTOP' COMPUTER

NEW PRODUCTS SONY TO INTRODUCE 'PALMTOP' COMPUTER

TOKYO - Japan's Sony Corp. said Wednesday it soon will begin selling a small keyboard-less computer that can read words written with a special pen on its flat screen.

''We consider this an epoch-making product, like the Walkman tape player," a Sony official said.Sony officials said the 2.8-pound, book-size computer has the same screen resolution, or clarity of detail, as Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh computer.

It comes with built-in software that displays a row of easily recognizable symbols on the screen like a Macintosh, and has extensive graphic capabilities.

"This is a real computer, but unlike other computers, anyone can begin using it the minute they take it home," said another Sony official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

Instead of a "mouse," the hand-operated device that manipulates the cursor on the screen and executes commands with a push-button, the computer is equipped with a special pen that is used to point to the desired function diagram on the built-in flat screen, which folds open to create a writing surface.

The computer is capable of recognizing English letters and more than 3,500 complex Japanese characters, the company said.

The computer has a 16-bit processor and 320 kilobytes of built-in RAM memory, which can store about 110 pages of information, Sony said. Additional memory cards will be available.