Sony will soon begin selling a new version of its Palm-based Clié personal digital assistant with a higher quality screen than earlier models.

The PEG-N600C has a 320x320 pixel TFT (thin-film transistor) screen capable of displaying 65,536 colours. This improves on the display capabilities of the otherwise similar PEG-700C, which can only handle 256 colours.

When Sony last updated the Clié in March, the display was also one of the main focuses. The backlit 160x160 pixel colour screen was replaced with a reflective screen of similar resolution to the new 700C.

The new PDA is based on the same Motorola 33MHz Dragonball VX processor as the Clié 700C model and is the first device to make use of the updated 4.0 version of Palm's operating system. Like the 700C, the device measures 71x119x17mm (wxdxh) and weighs 160g.

Sony plans to put the new Clié on sale in Japan on 4 August. This only gives Sony a two week headstart on Toshiba which launches its first PDA, the Genio, on 20 August. Perhaps most importantly the new Clié will be much cheaper than the Genio.