TOKYO, July 9 (Reuters) – NEC Corp, Japan’s biggest personal computer maker, said on Monday it will launch its first personal digital assistant (PDA) by the end of this year in Japan’s increasingly crowded market for the handheld devices.
The new PDA will use Microsoft Corp’s (NasdaqNM:MSFT – news) Windows CE operating system, instead of the more commonly used system developed by global PDA market leader Palm Inc (NasdaqNM:PALM – news).
“Considering its strengths in multimedia applications and linking up with PCs, we opted for CE,” Osamu Iseki, a senior NEC manager for PDA product planning, told a news conference.
The device will also use Intel Corp’s (NasdaqNM:INTC – news) StrongArm processor, already used in Compaq Computer Corp’s (NYSE:CPQ – news) iPAQ, and include slots for a Compact Flash Type II card, which can be used for wireless communications as well as memory, and an SD Memory Card slot.
A number of Japanese and foreign companies are jumping into Japan’s PDA market, with Toshiba Corp among those expecting to offer new products this year.
But Iseki, like other industry executives, said PDAs in Japan face particularly tough competition from highly popular Internet-enabled cellphones.
NEC gave no price or sales targets for its PDA, but Katsuichi Tomita, an NEC senior vice president, stressed the company’s intention to match its rivals in cost performance.
“We won’t put out a product that’s not profitable,” he said.
He added NEC would especially target the commercial market, including developing applications for business use.
NEC also unveiled a notebook computer for the Japanese market that can read both the Magic Gate Memory Stick recording media developed by Sony Corp and the SD Memory Cards developed by rival Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd , Sandisk Corp (NasdaqNM:SNDK – news) and other firms.
NEC’s shares ended two percent lower at 1,556 yen on Monday. The shares pared losses after tumbling to a two-year low of 1,516 yen in early afternoon trade, as investor jitters about earnings in the slumping high-tech sector carried over from last week and weighed on the market.