Sanyo has taken the wraps off an updated prototype of its planned PDA (personal digital assistant) based on the Symbian operating system at the Ceatec Japan 2001 tech show.

The new version shares most of the looks and features of the company's first public prototype (unveiled at the same event last year) but runs the updated Symbian OS 6.1.

Like the previous model it features a colour LCD display of around 4in, capable of 320x240 resolution and is based on an ARM microprocessor running at 66MHz, said Teruhiro Yamada, chief planner from Sanyo's research and development headquarters in Tokyo. It also sports a Multimedia Card memory expansion slot.

Though the company claims it still has no concrete plans to sell the PDA, which it has been developing under the Lyra codename, a commercial product is getting closer. Some prototypes on display even carried the product name ESG-EP100 — and Yamada said he hopes Sanyo’s PDA will go onsale "maybe next year".

Should Sanyo enter the PDA market, it will be following several other major Japanese computer and consumer electronics makers. Having been dominated by Sharp's Zaurus for several years, competition in the Japanese PDA market increased last year with the launch of Sony’s Clie.

This year, Toshiba started selling its Genio PDA [pictured]. Last month NEC announced it also plans to enter the market later this year.