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JVC, Gateway Join Pocket PC Handheld Camp

JVC and Gateway are entering the crowded handheld PDA market using Microsoft’s latest version of the Pocket PC, which rolled out last week.

JVC is joining the fray because it already supplies mini-notebooks in Japan and it is looking to expand its U.S. line with new product that can work with current JVC products, according to new products/special markets VP Al Levene.

JVC’s PDAs can also link with its digital camcorders.

Gateway’s entry into the handheld market is part of its latest effort to expand outside the pc category, the company said.

The announcements were made simultaneously with Microsoft’s release of the newest version of the Pocket PC operating system, now called Windows Mobile 2003 Software for Pocket PCs. The new OS offers integrated Bluetooth, Zero Config WiFi, and Windows Media Player 9.

Other key improvements of Windows Mobile 2003 include the support of “Always up-to-Date” synchronization, new e-mail notifications, short messaging service, multimedia message service, and a new photo editor.

In addition to Gateway and JVC, HP, Toshiba and Viewsonic also announced new Pocket PC models based on the new Windows Mobile OS.

In JVC’s new iO Pocket PC line is a unit which can capture MPEG4 video from certain JVC Mini DV digital camcorders. Called the MP-PV331, it can also capture still pictures and can wirelessly e-mail them or video via the Internet if the user is within range of a WiFi computer or hot spot.

The iO Pocket PCs offer 128MB of SDRAM, and use Intel 400MHz PXA255 processors. Both include an A/V player supporting MP3, WAV, AVI and ASF (MPEG4) and other compressed audio files. They also have a built-in graphic equalizer and sound positional expander for creating a broad sound field when listening with headphones.

Other features include 32MB flash ROM, CF 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 WiFi (802.11b), and USB host/client port. The unit also allows remote control of the video camera from the Pocket PC.

The MP-PV331 and MP-PV131 will ship in September at estimated street prices of $599.95 and $499.95 respectively.

Gateway’s new Pocket PC is expected to ship in July at a price around $300 and it features an XScale processor and 3.5-inch TFT screen, according to industry reports.

Hewlett-Packard announced it will ship four new iPAQ Pocket PCs leading with a low cost model at $299. The h1940 offers CF and SD expansion slots, 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 will ship in August at an estimated street price of $329, said Viewsonic.

New from Toshiba are two aggressively priced Pocket PC series, 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 RAM, and SD slot at $299. The 750/755 offers integrated WiFi voice-over-IP capability, 96MB of memory CF and SD slots at $499.

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