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Samsung signs for PocketPC 2002

Will back Palm too

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Samsung has said it will base an upcoming line of devices on Microsoft's PocketPC 2002 operating system - despite being on the verge of releasing its first Palm-based PDA in the US.

The Korean giant's comment, made during an interview between its worldwide marketing chief, Eric Kim, and Reuters, came a day ahead of today's official launch of the next version of the Windows CE-based platform.

Samsung's agnostic approach recalls to mind Dark Age Anglo-Saxon king Redwald, who, having been converted to Christianity, nevertheless placed shrines dedicate to the devil alongside his more godly altars, to make sure he didn't back the wrong side.

Samsung already uses Windows CE, of course, for a mini-notebook product, so the company's decision to support the OS' new release isn't entirely surprising. However, Kim did refer to offering "a PocketPC" next year, a term usually applied solely to WinCE-based PDAs. The new line will feature built-in cellphone technology, said Kim, and it's clear from other comments he makes that the company has its eye on the smartphone market.

His comments follow last week's admission by Palm that it's no longer pursuing that business.

Meanwhile, Microsoft will launch PocketPC 2002 simultaneously in London and San Francisco tonight or this afternoon, depending on which timezone you're reading this in.

PocketPC 2002, codenamed Merlin, debuted last month at a developers conference. The formal launch is expected to include bullish statements of support from Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and more recent WinCE recruit, Toshiba. Samsung won't be there, said Kim. ®

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