Waiting for the next wave of handhelds to arrive? Well, the wait is almost over. In fact, the final quarter of 2002 may very well become one of the busiest ever for handheld releases–and one of the most important. In the next three months, no less than a dozen handhelds are expected to be released, many of which are significant for their respective platforms.
Most anticipated are the first models running the new Palm OS 5, featuring the move to faster, ARM-based processors, which will greatly expand the possibilities of the platform. At the same time, new smaller, lighter, and less expensive Pocket PC handhelds will arrive, making them attractive to a wider audience.
Below are all the companies that have, or are expected to, release New Handhelds during the last quarter of this year, in alphabetical order. This does not include rumors, which aren’t always correct. Instead, it is officially released information or statements made by company spokespeople or executives in interviews.
On October 1, T-Mobile became the first company to offer the Danger Hiptop. This uses a 240 by 160 pixel, backlit, monochrome screen. which pivots aside to reveal a small keyboard. It uses GSM/GPRS networks, allowing it to access the Internet at up to 144 kbps, under ideal conditions. T-Mobile sells it for $200 after a $50 rebate with a wireless service contract. Other companies are expected to offer the Hiptop as well.
A Dell spokesperson confirmed to CNet that documents that were leaked to PDAFrance about upcoming Pocket PC 2002 handhelds from Dell are authentic, though the spokesperson said that the handhelds released may not be exactly what is described. These documents say that the company was going to release two models, one with a 300 MHz XScale processor and 32 MB of RAM, the other with a 400 MHz XScale processor and 64 MB of RAM. Both will have dual slots — SD and CompactFlash type II, 320 by 240 screens, and jog dials.
A company spokesperson told CNet that HP will release two models for this holiday season. One will be an entry-level model that will cost between $200 and $400 and have a color screen and an SD slot. It will be thinner and smaller than typical iPAQ models. The high-end unit will cost between $400 and $650 and include 802.11b and Bluetooth wireless networking capabilities along with a biometric fingerprint scanner. HP already has approval from the FCC to release the high-end model, called the h5400.
Earlier this month, Palm Inc. released the Zire m150, an entry level model with a monochrome screen and 2 MB of RAM priced at $99.
In September, Todd Bradley, head of Palm’s Solutions Group, told ZDnet UK his company would be releasing two more models on October 28. One will run Palm OS 5 and have built-in Bluetooth. Palm said early this year this model will run a Texas Instruments OMAP processor and have a 320 by 320 screen. The other is a data-centric wireless handheld that uses GPRS networks. These units will likely be released under Palm’s new Tungsten sub-brand.
Sony announced earlier this month that its first models running Palm OS 5 would be available in early November. These will have 320 by 480 screens, 16 MB of RAM, a Memory Stick slot, a slot to plug in an 802.11 wireless networking card, and a built-in keyboard. They will run on Intel XScale processors at 200 MHz. One of them, the NX70V, will also have a built-in camera capable of taking both still images and video. The NX70V will sell for $600, the other, called the NX60, will sell for $500.
Earlier this month, Sharp demonstrated a prototype for a new member of the Zaurus line which it says will probably be on sale in Japan by the end of the year. It uses a clamshell design with a 640 by 480 pixel color screen on one side and a keyboard on the other. It runs the Linux operating system.
Last week, Toshiba introduced the Pocket PC e330 and e335. Both models have the exact same styling as the e310 and include a 320 by 240 color screen, a 300 MHz XScale processor, 64 MB of RAM, and an SD slot. The e335 will be sold to consumers from $350 after a $50 rebate while the e330 will be sold to enterprise customers for $350.
ViewSonic has announced it will release a slim, lightweight model running Pocket PC 2002 on November 1. It will have 64 MB of RAM, an SD slot, and a 320 by 240 screen. The V35 will run a 300 MHz XScale processor. It will It will sell for $300.
These are just the models expected before the end of this year. More are expected from most of these companies in the first quarter of 2003.