HP ships Windows handhelds

Hewlett-Packard is now shipping its first Windows CE handheld devices.

Hewlett-Packard (HWP) is now shipping its first Windows CE handheld devices, the company announced today.

The 300LX and 320LX lines aren't the first on the market, but HP hopes that features like a larger screen and larger keys than competing devices will strike a chord with consumers.

So far, consumers have been slow to respond to Windows CE offerings from Compaq, NEC, Philips, Casio, and Hitachi.

The market for personal digital assistants (PDAs) and portables is dominated at present by U.S. Robotics' PalmPilot. According to March 1997 sales figures, the PalmPilot line has 67.4 percent market share, and Apple's MessagePad line of handheld computers holds about a 20 percent market share, says Tim Gorman, an analyst with market research firm PC Data. Windows CE devices have been on the market for several months, but have yet to sell in significant volume.

HP hopes to boost the popularity of its product with features like a 640-by-240 pixel screen that displays information as it appears on a desktop display, the company claims. HP offers a back-lit display on the 320LX. The 320LX also offers a slot for CompactFlash cards for easy expansion of memory, while leaving the PC Card slot for a modem or other device.

The 300LX has an estimated street price of $499 and the 320LX has an estimated street price of $699. Both models are currently available.