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Compaq, Intel team up on wireless

The computer maker plans to support the chip giant's blueprint for making wireless phones and handhelds, in return for its iPaq serving as the prototype for such devices.

After jointly conquering the PC market, Intel and Compaq Computer are setting their sights on the emerging market for wireless handhelds.

Compaq on Wednesday said it will support Intel's Personal Internet Client Architecture (PCA), the chip giant's blueprint for making wireless phones and handhelds with Intel chips.

In addition, Intel will tout Compaq's iPaq as a prototype for how such devices should be designed. Intel and Compaq also will work together to help spur software development for PCA devices.

"Intel and Compaq have worked very closely over the years. We both see an opportunity with a new, emerging market to extend that relationship," said Ron Smith, senior vice president of Intel's wireless communication and computing group.

The deal, which is nonexclusive, comes a day after Intel inked a similar deal with Symbian. Intel and Texas Instruments are dueling for control of next-generation cell phone chips.

The deal also shows Compaq's intent to make wireless data access a key part of the iPaq. For now, the iPaq can connect to wireless networks through an adapter card that fits into the iPaq's expansion sleeve. Compaq also plans to offer a way to turn the unit into a GSM cell phone.

"The further we look out the more important wireless becomes," said Sean Burke, vice president and general manager in Compaq's iPaq Products and Connected Devices Division. In the future, iPaqs will need to move seamlessly between different wireless networks, Burke said, including Bluetooth, 802.11 wireless LANs and various cellular phone networks.

Compaq also plans to build a cell phone based on "Stinger," Microsoft's reference design for next-generation phones that can surf the Internet using a version of Windows CE.

Compaq currently uses Intel's StrongARM processors in the iPaq.