Microsoft to launch Chinese Pocket PC 2002 on Dec. 6

Microsoft Corp. plans to pull the wraps off the Chinese version of Pocket PC 2002 in Taipei on Dec. 6, the company confirmed Thursday.

Pocket PC 2002 offers several improvements over the previous version of Microsoft's PDA (personal digital assistant) operating system, including an integrated instant-messenger application, the ability to beam data to and from devices running Palm Inc.'s Palm OS, and Bluetooth support. Pocket PC 2002 also allows users to customize functions and appearance of the OS, including the ability to change the desktop background. Microsoft is expected to be joined at the Chinese Pocket PC 2002 launch by several big-name OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners who will show off devices based on the new OS, including Acer Inc., Asustek Computer Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., Compal Electronics Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and High-Tech Computer Corp. (HTC).

The U.S. launch of the English version of Pocket PC 2002 in October saw hardware makers show off a range of devices based on Pocket PC 2002, including conventional PDAs and a hybrid device, that combined the functions of a mobile phone with a PDA.

Microsoft executives demonstrated a device developed by HTC that combines the functions of a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) phone with a Pocket PC-based PDA. British Telecommunications PLC spin-off MM02 PLC has announced plans to bring the device to market in the U.K., Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.

More conventional PDAs based on the English version of the OS have also been launched. Compaq currently offers the iPaq Pocket PC H3700 and H3800. The H3700 is an upgrade from the H3600 for Pocket PC 2002, while the H3800 is completely new, and features an SD (secure digital) memory card slot. Both versions offer 64MB of RAM and increased battery life over prior versions of the iPaq. Likewise, HP is shipping its Pocket PC 2002-based Jornada 560 handheld which includes more memory, longer battery life and less weight than previous Jornada models.

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