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Microsoft Ships Windows Mobile 2003

Redmond, Wash. – Microsoft announced a new version of the Pocket PC OS, called Windows Mobile 2003 which offers integrated Bluetooth, Zero Configuration WiFi, and Window Media Player 9.

Gateway and JVC used Microsoft’s announcement as a platform to state that they would join the U.S. PDA market.

Other key improvements of Windows Mobile 2003 over Pocket PC 2002 are it supports ‘Always up-to-date’ synchronization and new e-mail notifications, short messaging service and multimedia message service, and a new photo editor. Smartphone improvements include uninterrupted data communication while the device is turned off.

Microsoft announced it will rename its handheld device software as Windows Mobile. Pocket PCs and Smartphones are now subdivisions of Windows Mobile devices, the company said.

Other than announcing its PDA Gateway gave little information about its upcoming product except to say it will be geared toward business and education users. However, the research firma ARS, La Jolla, Calif., said the Pocket PC is expected to ship in July at a price between $300 and $350 and features an XScale processor and 3.5 inch TFT screen.

The new JVC iO Pocket PCs offer 128MB of SDRAM, and use 400 MHz PXA255 processors. They include an AV player supporting MP3, WAV, AVI and ASF (MPEG4) and additional compressed audio files. The models offer a graphic equalizer and sound position expander that creates a wide sound field when listening with headphones. Other features include 32MB flash ROM, CompactFlash Type II and SD expansion slots, 3.5-inch transflective color display, USB and WMA media player.

The step up model MP-PV331 adds MPEG4 video capture and video streaming, built-in Wi-Fi (802.11b), and USB host/client port. It also allows remote control of the video camera from the Pocket PC.

The MP-PV331 and MP-PV131 will carry prices of $599.95 and $499.95 respectively.

Hewlett Packard announced it will ship a broad range of four new iPAQ Pocket PCs leading with a low cost model at $299. The h1940 offers dual expansion slots (CF and SD), integrated Bluetooth, 64MB of RAM and 266MHz Samsung processor.

A new h2210 is the smallest Pocket PC available with both CF Type II and SD slots, according to HP. As all the new iPAQ models, it includes Bluetooth, mobile printing software, and transflective TFT display. It uses Nevo universal remote control software for controlling A/V devices via the PDA. It ships with 64MB of RAM and runs on a 400MHz Intel processor at an estimated street price of $399.

New business-aimed iPAQ models are the h5150 and h5550. The h5550 is the first Pocket PC to include 128MB of memory as well as integrated biometrics, fingerprint reader, security and WiFi. It has a 3.8 inch TFT at an estimated street price is $649. The h5150 (without built in WiFi) will ship at $549.

Viewsonic announced a Pocket PC with integrated 300K wireless camera called the V36. It uses an XScale 300MHz processor with 64 MB of SDRAM. The unit, which is a direct competitor to the Palm Zire 71, according to ARS, will ship in August at an estimated street price of $329, said Viewsonic.

New from Toshiba are two aggressively priced Pocket PC series called the e350/e355 and e750/755. Toshiba claims the former is one of the slimmest PDAs available at a weight of 5.2 ounces. It has 64MB of RAM, and SD slot at $299. The step up 750/755 offers integrated WiFi voice over IP capability, 96MB of memory CF and SD slots at $499.