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PDA plant to end Compaq iPaq supply woes

Taiwanese OEM to inaugurate iPaq-only factory next week

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Taiwanese computer maker High Tech Computer will open a new factory next week and dedicate the plant to punching out Compaq iPaq handhelds.

The Big Q has had a tough time of late getting anywhere near meeting the demand for iPaq, which has soared in popularity since late last year. Our sources in the handheld reseller channel suggest buyers are turning away from Palm and opting instead for the iPaq's shiny silver shell and colour display.

The snag is, Compaq can't keep up, and earlier this year signed a deal with HTC to accelerate production significantly. The new plant, which opens for business on 24 April, will have a capacity of 10 million PDAs per year, HTC said.

HTC has signed Taiwanese display screen maker ST LCD to keep it supplied with iPaq display panels.

In January, Compaq CEO Michael Capellas claimed that demand is outpacing supply by a factor of 25:1. The two companies expect to get supply to meet demand during the second half of the year.

That gives Palm some room to catch up with its new m505 PDA equipped with a shiny silver shell and a colour display (sound familiar?) Palm last week admitted it had rushed the launch of the machine to get it out at CeBit and so show the industry that it is working to compete with iPaq. The m505 is due to ship next month - it will, but not in volume until toward the end of May. ®

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