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PC Expo Keys On Wireless

NEW YORK — The 18th annual PC Expo will kick off tomorrow at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center here, with 85,000 attendees expected to check out the newest business and personal computing products.

The show launches with a keynote address tomorrow morning by Handspring CEO Jeff Hawkins entitled “Pervasive Computing: Your Web-Enabled, Wireless Future.” He will then participate in a panel discussion with Palm Computing president Alan Kessler, CNET Networks executive editor Steve Fox, AvantGo founder Felix Lin and Tivoli Systems president David Murphy.

Vendors are expected to introduce a wide range of consumer and business-oriented products, including several new PDA and handheld computers, PCs and printers.

Sony is expected to preview its first Palm-based units. Sony would not release any details, but the models are expected to offer a unique style from existing Palm products.

Casio will display several products announced in April, including the slim-line EM-500, which is the first PocketPC to use MMC storage

The Casio unit, aimed to a younger market, targets users who would typically shop for a $200 or $250 MP3 player but who might be willing to step up to a full-function handheld in the $500 to $600 range, according to Gary Shultz, director of the Mobile Information Products Division.

The EM-500 has a USB port for faster synchronization and downloading. It ships later this summer in five colors with 16MB of RAM and a 150MHz processor.

Casio will also display a more rugged color Cassiopeia, model EG-800, which is splash-resistant and has a 76-hour battery life (compared to the normal eight-hour battery life). With 32MB of RAM, it targets vertical markets at a price of less than $1,000.

Intel will demonstrate the five new mobile processors that it introduced late last week. The new chips feature Intel’s SpeedStep battery-conservation technology and are designed for use in full-size, light and ultra-portable notebooks.

Intel is in a battle with industry upstart Transmeta and AMD for the mobile processor market share. Transmeta processors are expected to be included in several notebooks shown at PC Expo this week.

Intel’s new models include two in the Pentium III class running at 750MHz and 600MHz and three Celeron models with speeds between 500MHz and 650MHz.

Canon will introduce the S450 Color Bubble Jet printer at the show. The S450, estimated street price $149 and shipping this week, features a 10-page per minute print speed of text items and 7ppm for color. It has both parallel and USB hookups and can print on a wide variety of papers.

Olympus will unveil to the public P-400 high-end photo printer. The P400 is a dye-sublimation printer that will hit retailers in early September with a $999 suggested retail price

John Kanur, the P-400’s product manager, said the printer is intended for photography buffs and professionals who want in-house photo processing.

The P-400 works best with high-end 3-megapixel and higher digital cameras, has SmartMedia and PC Card slots, a 2-inch monochrome LCD for previewing images, and the ability to print on a wide variety of photo paper. An 8 x 10-inch color image takes about 90 seconds to print.

Despite the P-400’s price tag and target audience, Olympus will sell it through photo specialty stores and retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City.

Minolta QMS’ PC Expo plans center on the release of the PagePro 4100 line of monochrome laser printers. The three-unit 4100 line will start shipping next month and replaces the PageWorks 18 line that has been selling since late 1999.

The entry-level 4100, estimated street price $649, is geared for the non-networked SOHO environment. The step-up 4100E, estimated street price $899, and the 4100GN, $1,169, are enterprise-level printers but will sell through the retail channel. – Additional reporting by Amy Gilroy