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HP releases handheld computer

New handheld computers are beginning to flood the market, now that Windows CE 2.0 is out and Comdex is coming.

New handheld computers are beginning to flood the market, now that Windows CE 2.0 is out and Comdex is coming.

Hewlett-Packard today released the HP 360LX, a palmtop computer with 8MB of memory and 10MB of ROM based around a Hitachi 60-MHz SH-3 microprocessor. Starting at $699, the new model features a 640-by-240-pixel grayscale screen and supersedes the 320LX as HP's leading handheld device.

The 320LX, meanwhile, was discounted to $499.

Like other handheld manufacturers, HP is increasingly emphasizing how these devices fit within the enterprise computing framework. In the first part of 1998, HP will release software so that the 360LX, for instance, can be managed through TopTools and other network manageability software.

Devices running on CE 2.0 in this sense function as PC companions, said Roger Gulrajani, group product manager at Microsoft. They can perform a number of functions, including modifying documents and spread sheets.

At the same time, unlike a laptop, the devices do not function as independent desktop substitutes. In fact, email and most computing functions generally get routed through a desktop, which translates files created on CE to files that can be read by standard desktop computers. Thus, while functional, the units generally remain dependent on other computers.

HP is expected to complement this release in the near future with the release of the 620LX, a Windows CE 2.0-powered computer in a larger form factor that will roughly resemble the shape and size of mini-notebooks. Earlier this year, HP said that the 620LX would have a color screen.

Microsoft released Windows CE in late September. Since then, HP, Casio, and other manufacturers have announced products based on the new version of the operating system.