Intel drops Rex

Intel Corp. is discontinuing the credit card-sized Rex organizer, a product it acquired when it took over Xircom Inc. in January, Intel confirmed Thursday.

"We looked at the core strengths of Xircom and decided the Rex isn't one of them. Intel will focus on fixed and wireless communication products for notebook PCs and handheld computers," said Kristof Sehmke, a spokesman for Intel in Belgium.

Production of the Rex was stopped in the first quarter and Intel has sold out its inventory, although some devices are still available in the channel, according to Sehmke. Employees who worked on the Rex have been assigned to other projects, he said.

Rex.net, an online service that provides news and other information to Rex users, will continue to operate until Aug. 31, according to Intel. After that users will be able to use their Rex as an organizer, but won't receive news updates when they synchronize.

Xircom touted the Rex as the world's smallest PDA (personal digital assistant.) The device, which was the talk of the 1997 Comdex trade show, has a touch screen and is synchronized with a notebook PC by sliding the Rex into a Type II PC Card slot. A special cradle was available for desktop PC users.

Xircom acquired the Rex from Franklin Electronic Publishers in 1999 for US$13.25 million. The latest version of the Rex was priced at 164 euros (US$150); a USB (universal serial bus) version was sold for 175 euros.

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