Sharp NetWalker PC-T1 drops QWERTY, gains handwriting recognition

Sharp have outed a new, keyboard-free version of their NetWalker PC-Z1 MID, in the shape of the touchscreen-only NetWalker PC-T1.  The Z1 was pretty much the epitome of a niche device, with its ultra-compact keyboard making it unsuitable for anything more than the occasional pecking out of emails; in its footsteps, the similarly 5-inch 1024 x 600 T1 gets an onscreen keyboard and handwriting recognition.

Power is courtesy of Freescale's i.MX515 processor, as on the Z1, and there's both WiFi b/g and Bluetooth together with 8GB of onboard storage and a microSD card slot.  OS is Ubuntu 9.04, and as well as the resistive touchscreen there's an optical joystick.  Ports include audio in/out, USB and miniUSB, and there's also a mono speaker.

Unfortunately battery life is only rated for up to 6hrs, which is on the low side for a daily companion device, and the price tag is likely to put many would-be buyers off too.  Sharp expect the NetWalker PC-T1 to be priced at around 47,000 yen ($512) when it lands in Japan come May, when it will be available in both black and white.

[via Engadget]