Microsoft rolls out ‘Jupiter’ CE in surprise attack

Research coincidentally proves punters want larger format 'PC companions' - but not smaller PCs, presumably...

Microsoft has announced Windows CE 2.11, codenamed Jupiter, a week early, and says the software has already been shipped to 12 OEMs. But the new rev of the operating system, snappily titled the Microsoft Windows CE Handheld PC Professional Edition (the 'designed for Windows…' label will be bigger than the machines), has already been trailed by a number of manufacturers, including LG and HP. News of HP's ARM-based Jupiter device leaked out yesterday (earlier story). Microsoft says that there will be demos of some H/PC Pro Edition (the official abbreviation, we presume) hardware at the Developers Conference in Denver next week, and that the first units will actually ship in early 1999. Jupiter (screw the brand name) claims improved remote access, support for VGA and Super VGA displays and "alternative pointing devices such as a mouse." Why these are major breakthroughs is entirely beyond The Register. The OEM list is more interesting: Casio, Compaq, Everex, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, LG Electronics, NEC, NTS Computer Systems, Samsung, Sharp and Vadem. Note that in the CE sales league tables only HP could possibly be termed a success out of this little lot, and may be the only one of them making money out of the standard. Also interesting is the way Microsoft is pitching Jupiter machines - desktop companions, not replacements for notebook PCs. Spookily, research from IDC cited in the Microsoft release "shows that there is demand in the corporate enterprise for large form factor PC Companions that serve as extensions to the desktop." This handily explains why people need bigger CE devices they can do more of their normal tasks on, but doesn't entirely explain why they don't need a subnotebook that runs Windows 9x, rather than a CE device. So is Jupiter the answer? What was the question, again? ® Click for more stories

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