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In response to increasing competition in the personal digital assistant market, Sharp Corp. will introduce a new version of its Zaurus hand-held computer to the domestic market on July 14, the company announced Tuesday.

On top of the conventional e-mail and dictionary functions, the Zaurus MI-P10 will enable users to switch between vertical and horizontal screens.

Products produced by Palm Inc. of the United States, a leading global maker of PDAs, have only a vertical screen. Palm entered the Japanese market in April.

Sony Corp. also plans to introduce a PDA expected to run on Palm’s operating system to the domestic market this fall.

“Although (Japan’s) PDA market is small compared with the mobile phone market, PDAs (are) a growing sector,” said a senior Sharp official. “It will become important to synchronize the function of PDAs with that of computers so that users can transmit movies and music (between the two).”

Sharp Corp. has around 50 percent of the domestic PDA market, according to the firm. Since the company launched its first Zaurus product in 1993, it has sold more than two million units.

Sharp said it plans to ship about 20,000 units of the new Zaurus each month, at an estimated retail price of about 40,000 yen.