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Microsoft Announces Pocket PC System Upgrade At Trade Show

Microsoft announced last week an upgrade for the Pocket PC operating system called Pocket PC 2002 at a trade show here, while Hewlett Packard said it will be first to use the new OS in two new Jornada models.

Pocket PC 2002 offers improvements over the current Pocket PC OS, including interoperability with the Palm OS and compatibility with 802.11b wireless networks, Bluetooth and CDPD. With the new OS, users will be able to “beam” contact information from a Pocket PC to a Palm handheld or to other Pocket PCs and mobile phones, the company said.

Pocket PC 2002 also supports the new Windows Media Player 8 and a new edition of Microsoft Reader.

The new OS becomes available Oct. 4 at which time Hewlett-Packard plans to begin selling two new Jornada models called the 565 and 568, with 32MB and 64MB of RAM, respectively.

Both units have a built-in CompactFlash Type I extended slots and feature a removable and rechargeable 14-hour, lithium-polymer battery. They also come with 8MB of FlashROM for backing up data and applications. Other features include a 16-bit TFT color screen and StrongARM 206 MHz processor.

Software for the Jornadas includes Pocket Outlook, Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket Internet Explorer, Terminal Services Client, MSN Messenger, Microsoft Reader 2.0 and Microsoft Windows Media Player 8 for Pocket PC.

The Jornada 565 and 568 will carry suggested retail prices of $599 and $649, respectively. In addition, HP will offer a $50 mail in rebate on both products from Oct. 4 through the end of the year.

Casio said it expects to ship a handheld based on the new Pocket PC 2002 OS in the October/November time frame and Compaq said it will offer a free upgrade patch for consumers who purchase an iPAQ starting Sept. 6 through Nov. 30. The company said it will mail CDs with the new patch.