Over the past week or so a great deal of information has surfaced on handhelds expected to be released before the end of this year. But it isn’t too soon to start looking ahead at the 2004 models. Some details have emerged about a new Pocket Loox coming in the middle of next year that may break the mold for Pocket PCs.
FirstLoox.org is reporting that Fujitsu-Siemens will release a model codenamed Barnabas that is expected to be released some time around May of 2004.
With its debut about nine months from now, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that details are very sketchy about Barnabas. However, it is known that it will run one of the next-generation XScale processors Intel was talking about last week. These will add several new features to the XScale line that will extend Barnabas’ battery life and help it deliver fast multimedia performance. Intel has not yet said what processor speeds will be available, though.
Reportedly, Fujitsu-Siemens would like to launch this handheld with Windows Mobile 2004 for Pocket PC, if it is available in time. Otherwise the company will release Barnabas with Windows Mobile 2003 and offer an upgrade when the new operating system is available.
In addition, this upcoming member of the Pocket Loox family will offer two forms of wireless networking: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. By the time Barnabas is out, there should be quite a few handhelds already available that offer these.
FirstLoox.org got its information about Barnabas from a Fujitsu-Siemens Mobile Handheld Roadmap that was leaked to it. This document describes Barnabas as being a “new concept”, which certainly implies this won’t be a typical Pocket PC. Microsoft said over the summer it had loosened restrictions on what Pocket PC licensees can do with their hardware, and it’s possible Barnabas might include a clamshell design or a higher-resolution screen.
There is no word yet on what this handheld will cost.