Tired of waiting for the new iPAQs to arrive? Well, your wait is almost over. In the next few weeks you’ll have the chance to put your hands on HP’s finest iPAQs to date.
To tide you over until they hit store shelves, we’ve gathered up everything you need to know about the new iPAQs — from detailed specifications, to pictures, to when they’ll be available — and assembled it in this preview.
But before we get to all that, let’s take a look back at the major events in the history of the iPAQ.
Despite a rocky start, the iPAQ has become the most successful Pocket PC — and one of the most successful PDAs — of all time. But in its three-year existance it’s had its share of ups and downs.
- April 2000 – Microsoft launches Pocket PC.
Hoping to jump-start its struggling Palm-size PC platform, Microsoft relaunches it as Pocket PC. Unfortunately, Compaq isn’t ready on launch day with its highly anticipated new Pocket PC, the iPAQ. Instead, it stuffs the Pocket PC OS into its existing Aero Palm-size PC and calls it the Aero Pocket PC. Few consumers buy it. Nevertheless, pictures and specifications of the iPAQ are leaked on the Internet causing many consumers to wait rather than purchase one of the new Jornada or Cassiopeia Pocket PCs, much to the chagrin of HP and Casio.
- June 2000 – First iPAQ 3600 series Pocket PCs begin to appear.
The first iPAQs trickle into stores. And do we mean trickle. Compaq had seriously underestimated the incredible consumer demand for its newest handheld computer, in part based on the lukewarm sales of its Aero Palm-size PC. Low supply coupled with high demand results in $1,000 iPAQs on eBay, which in turn creates further buzz and demand. It would eventually take Compaq a year to meet demand.
- August 2001 – Compaq releases monochrome 3100 series iPAQ.
With color iPAQs still in low supply (mainly due to the lack of color LCDs), Compaq decides to bring a monochrome unit to market. Bad move. Consumers shun the colorless stepchild, despite its superb battery life.
- October 2001 – Compaq unveils 3700 and 3800 series iPAQs.
In concert with the release of Pocket PC 2002, Compaq unveils its new iPAQs. The 3700 series turns out to be nothing more than a consolidated bug-fix series with the new OS, while the slightly redesigned 3800 series includes more memory, a Secure Digital slot, and integrated Bluetooth (in the 3870 model).
- October 2002 – The “new HP” picks the iPAQ.
After consummating its merger with Compaq, HP chooses to continue the iPAQ handheld line and abandon its Jornada handheld family, although it promises to incorporate features of the Jornada in upcoming iPAQs.
- November 2002 – HP releases 1910 and 5450 iPAQs.
HP pushes the iPAQ family in two new directions. The 1910 is its thinnest and least expensive Pocket PC since the Aero, and the 5450 brings Wi-Fi and biometrics to the iPAQ line. While the 5450 was totally expected (Brighthand first broke the news of the upcoming unit — and the 2200 — in April 2002), the 1910 was a total surprise. Industry insiders tell Brighthand that HTC — the device’s Taiwanese manufacturer — had shopped the device around to several Pocket PC licensees, including Dell. HP finally decided to release it, but expected it to be only a stop-gap device until it could release the 2200. As it turned out, the 1910 became one of the top selling iPAQ Models of all time.
- June 2003 – HP introduces new 2000 series iPAQ.
HP introduces the 2210 (see picture above), the first model in its new 2000 series of iPAQ handhelds, likely signaling the end to the successful 3000 series. It also expands the 1900 series and the 5000 series with several new models.
The new 1900 models look identical to the current 1910 model (see picture below). Smooth and sleek, many industry followers believe the 1910 is the most esthetically appealing Pocket PC design ever. It certainly is one of the thinnest.
The new 2200 series (seen below) is less rounded than the 1900 series. One advantage, it has soft, gripable sides that help prevent it from slipping out of your hand.
The new 5500 models look identical to the current 5400 models, reminiscent to the original iPAQ design.
The chart below provides details about the four major series of iPAQ Pocket PCs: 1000 series, 2000 series, 3000 series and 5000 series. (There will most likely never be a 4000 series, since the number four is unlucky in some cultures.)
It also highly probable that the 3000 series has reached its end of life. The current 3900 models will continue to be sold for a few months, but it’s safe to say that the 2000 series — for consumers — and the 5000 series — for businesses — will be the two major iPAQ lines, in much the same way as the Zire and Tungsten are Palm’s two major handheld lines. (See Anatomy of an iPAQ Model Number at right. Click image to enlarge.)
Where does that leave the 1000 line? It’s difficult to say. While HP originally was not fully commited to the 1910, its success in the marketplace may have changed some minds in San Jose. But when the first model you release in the series is in the 1900 range, you don’t leave a lot of room for continuation. It only took three years for the 3000 series to run out of model numbers, and it started at 3600, not 3900. Based on that, the 1900 series may not be around in a couple of years.
|1000 series||2000 series||3000 series||5000 series|
|Launched||Fall 2002||Summer 2003||Summer 2000||Fall 2002|
|Price Range||Under $300||Under $400||$400-$600||Over $400|
|h2210/15||None; This line is being phased out||h5150/55;
|OS||Pocket PC 2003 Pro||Pocket PC 2003 Premium||Pocket PC 2003 Premium|
|Intel PXA255 XScale
|Intel PXA255 XScale
64K colors TFT LCD
64K colors TFT LCD
64K colors TFT LCD
Supports PC Card and Compact Flash Expansion Packs
|Weight||4.37 oz. (124g)||5.1 oz. (144.2g)||7.29 oz. (206.8g)|
|Battery||900mAh Li-ion||900mAh Li-ion||1250mAh Li-ion|
|Availability||Early July 2003||Late June 2003||Late June/
Early July 2003
It appears that HP will release the h2200 series models first, most likely in coordination with the launch of Pocket PC 2003, expected to be on June 23. The first addition to the 5000 series will likely arrive 1-3 weeks afterward, any time between June 30 and July 15, while the new 1900 series models will most likely be available in early to mid July. Holding back the new 5500 and 1900 models allows HP to sell as many of the new 2200 series models as possible.
The upcoming models have begun to appear in the computer systems of several major bricks-and-mortar retailers. And some online retailers have recently started accepting pre-orders. They’ve even been spotted on HP’s own website, despite the fact that HP has not officially announced these models yet.
So, that’s everything you need to know about the upcoming iPAQs. Which one will you choose?