Sony has unveiled a Linux-based handheld file server that uses wireless LAN to link personal computers or PDAs and allow access to stored data.

The FSV-PGX1, which was announced by Sony today, includes a 20GB 2.5in hard disk drive of which 17GB is available for user storage.

Through an 802.11b wireless LAN access point built into the device, up to 250 users can connect to and access files stored on the internal disk drive. The device supports access via FTP (file transfer protocol), CIFS (common internet file system) and NFS (network file system).

A companion ethernet cradle also allows internet access to be offered to computers linked to the server if an internet connection is present. Security features include support for 64 or 128bit WEP (wired equivalent privacy) encryption and files on the server can be protected by a password.

The server can be held with one hand, measures 83x155x31mm and weighs 390g. It requires AC power to operate although there is an internal battery for back-up purposes.

It will get its first public showing at the Net&Com 2003 exhibition that opens in Tokyo tomorrow and go on sale on 29 March for around ¥70,000 (£354), said Sony's spokeswoman. The companion cradle will cost around ¥7,000 (£35).

Sony said it has not yet decided on plans to sell it overseas.