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Is Sony creating secret Apple PalmTop?
by Seamus Waldron, October 24th, 2003.

Well, my dear reader let me present the evidence.

We have heard for years that Apple is rumored to be working on a new PDA/Palmtop to replace the much-loved Newton. In OSX 10.2, Apple introduced Inkwell, a handwriting technology developed by Apple for the later generations of the Newton. We know that Apple and Sony have been getting into bed over streaming video content and that Sony is launching PalmOS machines under the Clie brand and Symbian powered machined under the SonyEricsson mobile phone brand.

Now, meet the AppleSony palmtop contender, a Sony branded Clie, running PalmOS and the ability to (presumably) run Mac OS9 under emulation or natively.

How is this possible? Don't ask me, but I was walking past Micro Anvika (an authorised Apple Reseller in the UK) on Tottenham Court Road in London just a few days ago and saw, to my astonishment, this huge advert for the new Sony Clie PEG-UX50.

Advert for Sony CLI´┐Ż PEG-UX50 in front window of Micro Anvika

Hmmm, I think, interesting technology. Nice clamshell design, Bluetooth, WiFi, this computer looks great. WOW! And look at that web browser, that looks really good. The resolution on this thing must me great!

I take a closer look.

That looks familiar...

That looks familiar. I ponder what I am looking at. Then it hits me. Either:

  • Microsoft has developed Internet Explorer for PalmOS
  • Sony has made PalmOS look remarkably like Mac OS9
  • Sony and Apple have created a Mac OS9 powered palmtop without telling
  • OR
  • Somebody has screwed up
  • OR
  • Somebody is telling porky pies (lies)
I know where my money lies.

Smelling a similar Faux Pas to the one Microsoft came out with when launching Windows XP (they had used a stock photograph of somebody using a computer, unfortunately, it was a Mac that was so old nobody thought Virtual PC would even run MSDOS on it ;-), I grabbed my digital camera and take a few photographs.

Getting them home and firing up Photoshop I took a closer look at the image that has been overlayed onto the Clie's screen.

That looks familiar...

First thing you notice is that it is definitely Microsoft Internet Explorer running on Mac OS9. The distinctive Aqua colouring and vertical tabs on the left are a bit of a giveaway.

Second thing you notice, this is definitely OS9 because of the colouring and various OS9 interface elements. However, something catches my eye. I zoom in to check.


Bingo! The Apple Menu has been removed. This shows intent. The marketing guys for Sony used the Mac OS9 Internet Explorer KNOWING it wasn't PalmOS, as they removed the Apple Menu by doing nothing more that deleting it. They kept the spacing, so the File/Edit/etc menus are in the right place.

The small print doesn't mention Apple or Microsoft....

So, one last zoom in to check the small print:

Sony, Memory Stick and Clie are registered trademarks of Sony Corporation, Japan
The BLUETOOTH trademark [something, something, something], USA
Palm, Palm Powered, the Palm logo and Palm Powered logos are trademarks of Palm [something] Inc.

So there you go. Not an Apple palmtop, but a botched attempt by the marketing guys at Sony to make their new machine look better than it might actually be. Marketing or deliberate mis-leading, YOU DECIDE.

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