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HP reorg to split handhelds, notebooks

Company plans to increase the focus on its growing lineup of phone/personal digital assistants.

Hewlett-Packard has given its iPaq handhelds their own business unit, announcing plans Sunday to separate the product teams for its notebooks and handhelds, including the new iPaq hw6900 series.

Dave Rothschild, formerly of Sun Microsystems, Pixo and Netscape, will lead the new business unit reporting to Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's Personal Systems Group. Before Sunday, Ted Clark had presided over the development of both notebooks and iPaqs in the Mobility Business Unit, and he will keep control of notebook development in the new organization, HP said in a press release. Four units now make up HP's Personal Systems Group: handhelds, notebooks, desktops and workstations.

HP has continued to develop the iPaqs it inherited as part of the Compaq acquisition as the market for traditional personal digital assistants has declined. Shipments of PDAs have been steadily dropping over the last several years, but devices such as Palm's Treo and or HP's hw6500 series iPaqs that blend voice capabilities with contacts, calendars and Internet connectivity are hot sellers.

HP is unveiling a new category of its iPaq wireless handhelds at the 3GSM World Congress conference in Barcelona on Sunday along with Microsoft's new push e-mail software.

The company also plans to report its first-quarter earnings on Wednesday.