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Leaked document gives peek at Dell plan

An internal Dell Computer document leaked onto the Internet offers a look at the company's plans for the handheld market.

An internal Dell Computer document leaked onto the Internet offers a sneak peek at the company's plans for the handheld market.

According to a document posted on PDAFrance, a French site for handheld enthusiasts, Dell is planning to sell handhelds running Microsoft's Pocket PC 2002 operating system and powered by Intel's XScale processor. Among the other features mentioned in the document are Secure Digital and Compact Flash expansion slots, a 3.5-inch transflective TFT screen and a jog dial.

Company spokesman Jess Blackburn said the documents were from Dell but cautioned that the specifications may not be final. Blackburn said the company does not know how the documents made their way onto the Internet.

Sony had a similar issue last month, when a document made its way onto the Internet detailing two unannounced Clie handhelds.

Dell has said it plans to enter the handheld market but has not revealed the pricing or features of its products.

Blackburn said the company had previously committed to launching a handheld in the fourth quarter. "That is still our plan," he said.

Analysts have said Dell is aiming to have models start at $299. ViewSonic recently announced a Pocket PC-based handheld at that price, which represents a drop in the lowest price for devices running the latest version of Microsoft's handheld OS.

"When we got into software for handhelds, we made a bet that component costs would come down, and while it was initially an obstacle, we're now able to attack the low and midlevel price ranges," Microsoft spokesman Ed Suwanjindar said last month.

Hewlett-Packard also plans two new Pocket PC-based handhelds for the holidays, including a lower-priced iPaq. The new device has the same brushed-metal case as earlier iPaqs but is visibly smaller. HP has not said how much the device will cost.