Live From CeBit – HP to Release the iPAQ h4000 Series and More

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Reports are coming in that HP is going to release a new iPAQ during late fall to winter time frame. The iPAQ h4000 series will be on the high-end of the scale and will feature a built in QWERTY keyboard.

The h4000 series will be roughly the eighth PDA released by HP, coming close to Sony’s record set last year. It will certainly feature integrated wireless of some sort, most likely WiFi and/or Bluetooth. There is an outside possibility that it will integrate some sort of GPRS connectivity to compete with other “always-on” devices.

At the CES earlier this year, HP told us they were working on an integrated unit with QWERTY keyboard. The h4000 does not appear to be this unit, but may be a serious step in that direction.

The HP iPAQ 4000 series will have much the same features as the 5000 series currently such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth but instead of having the normal look at the bottom of the iPaq we’ll see a thumbpad style keyboard.  It seems more and more of the device makers are moving in this direction and there is much less emphasis on Graffiti.  Indeed, Handspring said today they will not be supporting Graffiiti in the Treo 600.

Some other nuggets of information we received about upcoming HP iPaq devices for next year (2004) is that with the release of Pocket PC 2004 scheduled for Spring 2004 we will see a huge upgrade to both devices and what the OS will support.  HP told us that the PDA will essentially become much more like a laptop in its features and abilities.  For instance, HP will supply a crade (with future iPaq devices running Pocket PC 2004) called a “Super Cradle” that will allow output from the PDA to a projector or SVGA screen without any special wires, cables or software.  The rumored HP SmartPhone flipphone that we heard about in January will not see the light of day this year, but HP does intend to release a phone during the first half of 2004 but they are much less gung-ho about the SmartPhone market now and feel that they can do better and offer more in the handheld market – marked by the fact we’ll see 7 devices released in the next 3 months!

Related News:

Live From CES HP confirms release of PDA phone, news on h1910 and h5450 (1/11/2003 12:29:44 AM) – It s not clear which direction HP will take but they will either release a Smartphone or Pocket PC Phone Edition at some point in the next six months or so. Their handheld team indicated the form factor will almost certainly be a clamshell design, which seems to be gathering quite a bit of steam lately.

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