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HP has launched a trade-in programme allowing PocketPC and Palm users to sell their old handhelds back to the manufacturer for $50 or more to set against the cost of a brand spanking new iPaq h1940 or h2210.

The offer, made to US customers, runs through to 10 July. According to HP's website, it has set what it calls a "fair market value" for a range of PDAs, and that's what it will knock off the price of the new iPaq. If the fair market value is less than $50, HP will nonetheless credit your account with $50. If it's higher, you get the full FMV as a discount.

To qualify for a rebate, says HP, "traded in products must be in working order, show reasonable wear and tear, and include all original components", including rechargeable batteries, recharge/sync cradles and so on.

Don't expect much more than $50 in any case. Even a PalmOne Tungsten T3 in excellent condition yields only $75. Ditto that Dell Axim X3i you bought only last October when it was launched. Sony's Clié UX50, on the other hand, will net $125 if it too is in excellent condition.

Anyone thinking of taking HP up its offer may also want to think about software upgrades, particularly for Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition. Different company spokespeople have yielded different responses, but it seems likely that only one of the four models attached to the promotion - the h2215 - will be offered an upgrade to the new OS, according to enquiries made by a variety of PocketPC-oriented web sites. ®

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