Windows CE will initially run on handheld PC devices from seven hardware manufacturers. To make the new hardware useful, AT&T announced it will work with third-party hardware and software makers to give CE devices wireless access to its cellular digital packet data (CDPD) service. Metricom has made a similar pledge for its Ricochet service.
Ardis, meanwhile, will support email and two-way messaging on CE with service on its national wireless network. Wynd Communications and RadioMail are both offering wireless email services for Windows CE.
WyndMail, which will be available for Windows CE within 90 days for $29.95 a month, will work as part of the Inbox email client built into CE. WyndMail includes third-party connectivity software, and the company will also rent or sell wireless modems.
RadioMail, which offers wireless Internet services plans over Ardis, CDPD, RAM, and other networks starting at $19.95 a month, will ship for various handheld PCs in the first half of 1997.
The handheld PC hardware makers are already trying to differentiate themselves by offering different software bundles. For example, Philips, Compaq Computer, and Casio will offer Mtel's SkyTel Messenger two-way paging software on their upcoming machines while Motorola will support CDPD and Ardis networks with its Personal Messenger modem cards.