Sharp has decided to finally pull the plug on the life support machine that has been keeping its Zaurus PDA alive for the last far years.
The Zaurus has been a ground-breaking device ever since its launch. First device with a concealed keyboard; first device with a VGA screen; first with a built-in hard drive... Not to mention Linux, flash RAM, etc.
Of course the Japanese focus of the device and its marketing meant that it fell behind in other areas - the absence of any wireless radios in even the latest of its iterations.
There were eventually only three official international releases of the Zaurus. The 5000/5500 which tailblazed the line through the likes of Palm and Compaq's dull peers; the 5600 which brought maturity to the line, but only made it to the US; and finally the 6000, which was the only Zaurus which came with built-in wireless, but was difficult to get hold of even in the States where it was officially available.
It was the Japan only 8x0/3x00 ranges which really will be missed. They took the PDA truly into the laptop replacement category, with a usable keyboard, disk drive, high-res screen and near desktop OS - something which HTC used as a template for its Universal - although good as that was it was a pale imitation.
Now if Sharp had managed to keep its nerve and market the Zaurus across Europe things could have been so different.