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Philips Adds USB to Sony's CLIE

Royal Philips Electronics Tuesday said it has inked a deal that will help some new Sony CLIE handhelds connect with other USB-compatible devices.

The two companies say they will use Philips' Universal Serial Bus On-The-Go (OTG) chip, the ISP1362, to give the CLIE the ability to transfer data and files to other PDAs, digital cameras and mobile phones with a USB port without the use of a personal computer."

Sony did not say which CLIE models would be equipped with the new OTG chips or when they would come out. The two companies have teamed up previously on extending digital rights management (DRM) capabilities through the acquisition of InterTrust Technologies.

Philips said its ISP1362 USB OTG controller is fully compliant to the OTG Supplement to USB 2.0 Specification Rev. 1.0 and can function as USB host, USB peripheral, or both functions simultaneously.

The USB standard supports data transfer rates between 12 Mbps and 480 Mbps. A single USB port can be used to connect up to 127 peripheral devices, such as mice, modems, and keyboards.

The company's general manager Rajeev Mehtani called the partnership, "ideal for small battery-powered devices."

"Sony is a leader in the handheld market and we are pleased to announce that they have selected Philips' USB OTG solution," Mehtani said.

The universal 'plug-and-play' technology has been around since 1996, but competes with other external bus standards like IEEE 1394 (a.k.a. FireWire) , which was originally developed by Apple Computer .

Philips and other companies like Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Lucent, Microsoft and NEC continue to be at the forefront of advancing USB technology to version 2.0.

The Dutch-owned company's San Jose, Calif.-based semiconductor division said it has been actively working with key customers, such as Sony, to bring OTG-enabled end applications to market and said it plans on expanding that relationship to other companies.