Sharp this week unveiled the latest model of its Zaurus PDA (personal digital assistant), which boasts a digital still camera.

The Zaurus MI-E25DC has a 310,000-pixel digital still camera embedded in the back of it and is compatible with the picture email service offered by mobile phone companies in Japan.

It seems PDAs and smartphones are becoming ever more alike — the Zaurus is very similar at a glance to Sony Ericsson's latest smartphone, the P800, also released this week.

Sharp was one of the first companies to have embedded a digital still camera in a mobile phone and has contributed to the booming mobile phone picture email services in Japan. About two million handsets that are compatible with the picture email service have been sold so far in Japan.

"This is not the first PDA embedded with a digital still camera," said Yoshihisa Ogura, a spokesman for Sharp. "However, embedding a digital still camera without changing the size of the PDA is something that will be accepted by the PDA users. We consider the embedded digital still camera as an added value to the PDA device," he said, adding that Sharp's mobile phones that have digital cameras have become popular for this reason.

Up to 80 recorded still images can be stored in the Zaurus' memory. More images can be stored on its recording media, an SD (secure digital) card or a Compact Flash card, the statement said. The company also offers an image-storage service online.

The camera also records moving images, and about 20 seconds of video can be attached to email, the statement said.

The MI-E25DC Zaurus has a 32-bit RISC processor, 32MB of memory, a sliding keyboard and a 3.5in reflective colour LCD (liquid crystal display) panel with front light.

Pricing in Japan is around £330. Sharp says that Europe may not see this model, but perhaps the firm will change its mind if similar devices do well here.