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Pocket PC makers line up to support Windows Mobile 2003

JVC iO PDA to offer Ogg Vorbis support

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Alongside Microsoft's Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PCs launch, (see Microsoft rebrands Pocket PC as Windows Mobile), hardware vendors have been announcing PDAs based on the new operating system platform.

New Pocket PC provider JVC today launched its iO PDA. Based on a 400MHz Intel XScale PXA255 processor, the iO line contains two models: the MP-PV131 and the MP-PV331. The latter offers built-in 802.11b WLAN access and an MPEG 4 streaming server should you have a JVC camcorder connected. It will capture digital video and remote-control the camera, too. Both models play MPEG 4 video, MP3, WAV and the open source Ogg format courtesy of JVC's own AV Player app.

Both models come decked in black and silver livery, and feature 128MB of SDRAM, 32MB of Flash memory for firmware, an SD slot and a Type II Compact Flash card slot, a 3.5in transflective display, and a USB port for syncing. Both weigh 170.4g (6oz) and measure 13 x 7.5 x 1.8cm (5.2 x 3 x 0.7in).

The MP-PV131 and MP-PV331 will ship in the US in September for $499.95 and $599.95, respectively.

Gateway will ship is much-discussed Pocket PC sometime next quarter. It didn't say much about the device itself - other than the fact that it will run Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PCs - and as it has already said it's preparing a PDA, its announcement boils down to little more than a (very broad) ship date.

New HP PDAs have also been the subject of much pre-announcement discussion on specialist forums and web sites. Today it said that it will launch four new models: the iPaqs h2210, h1940, h5150 and h5550, all with integrated Bluetooth, transflective display and an SD IO expansion slot.

The h5150 ships with 64MB of RAM and up to 4MB of iPaq File Store Flash RAM. It contains a 400MHz XScale PXA255 processor and a removable slimline rechargeable battery. The h5550 shares both these features, but bundles 128MB of SDRAM and up to 17MB of iPaq File Store. It also sports integrated 802.11b wireless networking and fingerprint-based data access security.

The h5150 costs $549, the h5550 a whopping $649.

The $399 h2210 also features a Type II Compact Flash card slot, and HP claims it's the smallest PDA with SD and CF slots. It contains 64MB of SDRAM (56MB for the user) and is driven by a 400MHz XScale PXA255 processor.

The h1940 costs $299. It too includes 64MB of memory (56MB for user stuff), but is based on Samsung's 266MHz S3C2410 processor.

ViewSonic will follow up its V35 Pocket PC with the V36 in August. Based on a 300MHz Intel XScale processor, the V36 has 32MB of ROM and 64MB of SDRAM - though only just over half of it, 36.5MB is available for user data). It has a 3.5in 16-bit 320x240 transflective display.

Taking a leaf out of Palm's book, the V36 features a built-in 640x480 digicam, as per the Zire 71. Like the Zire, it lacks wireless connectivity of its own, but an SD IO slot allows users to add Wi-Fi cards for WLAN support. Unlike Palm's consumer device, the V36's rechargeable battery is removable, and the device even allows you to swap batteries while the unit's operating.

The V36 will ship in the US in August and will be priced at $329.

Toshiba today upgraded its existing Pocket PC e750, e755, e350 and e355 PDAs to run Windows Mobile 2003 - or from whenever next quarter Microsoft ships the software. All new models will ship with the operating platform, but buyers who have bought e75x series machines since 23 May will be able to upgrade free of charge. If you bought one before then, the update will cost $50 all in.

The e350 and 355 sport 300MHz Intel XScale PXA255 processors, 64MB SDRAM, 3.5in 16-bit 320 x 240 display, one USB port and one SD card slot. The e750 and 755 offer bigger screens, faster processors and more memory: 400MHz PXA255s, 3.8in transflective 16-bit 320 x 240 displays, and 96MB of RAM, 32MB of which is non-volatile Flash. The e75x series also features a Compact Flash slot, stereo audio in and out, and integrated 802.11b. The two ranges starts at $299 and $499, respectively.

Symbol has likewise updated its rugged Symbol PPT 8800 PDA family, with availability sometime during Q3.

The PPT 8800 is based on an Intel XScale PXA250 processor and typically contains 32MB ROM and 32MB RAM. Expansion is provided by a Compact Flash card slot. It features a 320x240 16-bit colour display.

Fujitsu Siemens' Pocket LOOX 600 has been upgraded to support Microsoft's rebranded operating platform. PDAs bought between 23 May and 23 September can be upgraded to the updated OS for free. Those bought before 23 May can also upgrade, but "for a small handing fee", which FSC didn't specify. Those are exactly the same dates as Toshiba's and other vendors' upgrade offer periods, suggesting this is a Microsoft-mandated deal. ®


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