NEC unveils PDA, Fujitsu to follow

NEC unveiled its PocketGear PDA (personal digital assistant) on Friday, at the same time as rival electronics maker Fujitsu announced it plans to enter the increasingly crowded PDA market.

The new NEC machine, like Fujitsu's planned product, is based on Microsoft's new Pocket PC 2002 operating system. The new software was unveiled hours earlier by Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive officer (CEO), at an event in San Francisco, where Ballmer restated Microsoft's commitment to the PDA market and reaffirmed his company's determination to beat off competition, at present mainly from Palm Inc.

Like many of its competitors, NEC chose to base its PDA on Intel's StrongARM processor running at 206MHz and not one of its own VR series microprocessors, which have powered some of NEC's Windows CE-based portable computers.

"Unlike personal computers, Pocket PC is still somewhat dependant on the hardware platform so we decided to use the StrongARM to ensure support with third-party software developed in Europe and the U.S.," said Kosuke Yamaouchi, a spokesman for NEC.

The PocketGear features a 3.8-inch color TFT (thin film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) capable of displaying 65,536 colors, 32M bytes of both ROM and RAM, slots for Compact Flash (CF) and Secure Digital (SD) memory cards, a PC Card slot and IrDA infrared interface.

These features are largely in line with many of the other Pocket PC 2002-based machines already announced and leave little to choose between models from the various manufacturers, which include Compaq Computer., Toshiba and Casio Computer.

Physical specifications too are similar to other Pocket PC 2002 machines: the PocketGear weighs 190 grams and measures 126 by 78 by 18.5 millimeters.

NEC plans to begin selling the PocketGear in Japan on November 30 for under 60,000 yen (US$500), said Yamaouchi. The company has pegged initial monthly production at 8,000 units and plans to sell the PDA worldwide, although the spokesman did not have details of overseas launch plans.

As NEC was disclosing details of the PocketGear, Fujitsu threw its hat into the ring with the announcement that it plans to launch a PDA sometime in the first three months of 2002. Few other details were offered by the company except that it will be based on Pocket PC 2002 operating system and will go on sale in Japan, Europe, North America and Asia.

The two companies are but the latest Japanese electronics makers to turn to the PDA market in hopes of finding a profit. Sharp had led the domestic market for several years with its Zaurus line of PDAs and managed to hold its own despite the arrival of foreign competitors like Palm, Compaq and Handspring Inc.

Things started to change last year when Sony launched its Palm OS-based Clie, and competition increased further earlier this year when Toshiba debuted its first PDA. With the arrival of NEC, the imminent arrival of Fujitsu, and products from other vendors already in the market, such as Casio Computer, competition is expected to get more intense.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?