Microsoft to Launch Pocket PC 2002

Thursday, Microsoft will launch the next iteration of its successful platform for handheld computing, dubbed Pocket PC 2002. Based on the Windows CE operating system, Pocket PC 2002 devices feature color screens, upgradeable BIOSes, and a new version of the OS that somewhat resembles Windows XP. The company will launch the product today in San Francisco, along with industry partners. Numerous companies have been jumping on the Pocket PC bandwagon lately, and at least two new manufacturers, Toshiba and Samsung, will show off their new hardware at the launch.

The new Pocket PC is arriving at a propitious time for the platform, which has been making steady market share gains since last April. Microsoft says that the key to the Pocket PC's success is its acceptance in corporations, which need the power and flexibility of these powerful devices. Pocket PCs also resemble Windows, making them easier to learn, and offer a number of applications that are similar to desktop Window apps.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) was first out the door with a new Pocket PC 2002 device; its Jornada 560 series will go on sale this week. Also on tap is a set of new Compaq iPaq devices, which are either identical or moderately updated from the previous version; the iPaq is the best-selling Pocket PC device and most current models are now nearly identical to Compaq's design. Toshiba's Genio was launched in Japan this summer, but the US version--based on Pocket PC 2002--will be called the Pocket PC e570, unfortunately. This device will ship in November. Other companies, such as Symbol Technologies and Casio, will announce new products at the launch as well.

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