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Issue #2003 - 27 (October 2003)
(Updated Oct. 22, 2003)


Device News This Week
Source: FierceWireless, MobileMag, CNET, Vendor Websites and others

1. During the Past month, Palm launched following three new handheld PDAs:

  • Zire 21, a new and improved version of its best-selling entry-level handheld
  • Tungsten T3 and 
  • Tungsten E. 

The Zire 21 runs on Palm OS version 5.2.1 and has a 126MHz Texas Instruments OMAP processor, 8MB RAM, a monochrome display, and a rechargeable battery. This device is available for $99. The Tungsten 

T3 sports an ultra-high resolution color display and a virtual Graffiti input area. The device runs on Palm OS version 5.2.1, a 400MHz Intel XScale processor, and comes with 64MB of RAM, an SDIO slot, and built-in Bluetooth. The T3 is a high-end device targeted at mobile professionals and is priced at $399.

The third new handheld, the Tungsten E, sports a 126MHz Texas Instruments OMAP processor, 32MB of RAM, an SDIO slot, and a color screen. It also runs on Palm OS 5.2.1 and is available for $199. 

2. Psion Announces Windows CE Netbook Pro
Psion, covers all its bases by announcing a Windows CE.Net-based sub-notebook device designed for corporate enterprise CRM applications.

It should be noted that in the past Psion and Microsoft were competitors in the handheld computing business. Since then Psion has quit the manufacture of consumer handhelds and acquired the industrial mobile computing business of Teklogix based in Ontario, Canada, which is responsible for the new Notebook Pro. Psion has also increased its stake in Symbian, the mobile operating system venture which is now Microsoft's main competitive target in the smartphone market. 

In the mid-1990s, Psion handhelds based on the EPOC operating system, which was later to serve as the technology foundation for Symbian, competed directly with Windows CE-based products from Microsoft and its OEMs. The competition from Microsoft and Palm OS-based devices, coupled with an abortive partnership to develop a Symbian smartphone with Motorola, eventually forced Psion to quit the mainstream handheld business altogether. 

The Netbook was originally based on EPOC and Psion Teklogix still offers that version. The new device has a 400 Mhz Intel XScale processor, 800 x 600 colour screen, 128 Mb of RAM, a near full-size keyboard and support for a wide range of wide area and local wireless modules via the CompactFlash expansion slot. 

3. Tripod Data Systems(a Trimble company) Introduces the Recon Rugged Handheld Computer 
Running Windows Mobile 2003 Software for Pocket PCs 
New operating system brings the most popular applications to users working in harsh environments

WASHINGTON, D.C. and CORVALLIS, Ore.-October 7, 2003-Tripod Data Systems (TDS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Trimble), today introduced its new TDS Recon™ rugged handheld computer that runs Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 software for Pocket PCs.

TDS is launching the new Recon at AUSA, the largest military trade show in the world. The new Recon will also be exhibited at the Pocket PC Summit 2003 in Las Vegas, Oct. 20-23.

The addition of Windows Mobile software to the Recon brings the most popular handheld applications to users working in extreme temperatures, driving rain, dusty job sites and other harsh environments. 
"We've had a large number of customers ask for Windows Mobile software since we introduced the Recon," said TDS president Dave Scribner. "Windows Mobile 2003 software for Pocket PCs is the most popular operating system for handheld computing, so adding it to the Recon gives our users field access to the applications they use most."

"Mobile professionals who work in harsh environments have been requesting small computing devices that are tough, allowing them to stay wirelessly connected during their entire work day," said Doug Dedo, marketing manager for the Mobile Devices Division at Microsoft Corp. "The new TDS Recon Pocket PC using Windows Mobile 2003 software for Pocket PCs provides these workers a platform on which to conduct their business."

The Recon is designed for all-day operation in extreme outdoor and industrial environments. It exceeds the MIL-STD-810F military standard for drops, vibration and temperature extremes. It also comes with an IP67 rating, meaning it's impenetrable to water immersion and dust.

The Recon's rugged construction makes it ideal for land surveying, mapping, civil engineering and construction, forestry, utility, facilities and asset management, machine control, law enforcement and military applications. It weighs just 17 ounces, and its rounded edges provide a comfortable grip. Large, widely spaced buttons are easy to use, and its reflective color TFT display is bright and clear in sunlight.
The Recon comes with a 200- or 400-MHz Intel XScale processor, 64 MB of SDRAM and up to 128 MB of internal nonvolatile Flash storage. It also features two CompactFlash slots, plus a standard 9-pin serial port and a high-speed USB port for connecting to a PC. The standard PowerBoot Module™ features a 15-hour rechargeable NiMH battery.

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: Three interesting device signify three trends. Palm is after all its efforts and moving sideways, is now moving forward in the enterprise market. Tungsten T3 has been received well.  However, we await completion of Palm and Handspring merger. We expect better products from the combined merged company. We hope they deliver what we expect - best of Treo and best of Palm.

Psion's introduction of Windows CE is a validation of the success of Windows mobile 2003 OS platform in the enterprise. Businesses should be  pragmatic and not stubborn. Psion seems to demonstrates that it is not hung up in one OS only.

Finally rugged notebooks are expected to have a good market in the manufacturing, industrial, construction, public safety and municipal environments. 

Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and section 21E of Securities Exchange act of 1934 in USA. Similar provisions exist in other countries. There is no assurance that the stipulated plans of vendors will be implemented. MobileInfo does not warrant the authenticity of the information. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.  All trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective owners.

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