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HP preps 4 July iPaq launch

Bluetooth links to offer 'independence day' from desktops, no doubt

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HP will apparently launch a raft on new iPaq PDAs on 4 July. With a nod toward PalmOne's Zire and Tungsten lines, three of the new machines will be aimed at the consumer multimedia market and the fourth will target the iPaq's traditional executive customer base.

Unlike PalmOne, HP will offer Bluetooth across the range, joined by 802.11b on the higher-end models.

Specifications for the PocketPCs come courtesy of Mobile Gadget News, though it provides no indication of the how it came by the information.

July's three consumer-oriented devices are the $229 'Eastwood', $399 'Gable' and $499 'Monroe', so far known only by their codenames. The former is based on a 203MHz Samsung 2410 processor and will contain 32MB of RAM and 32MB of Flash. There's a 3.5in 320 x 240 display mounted on the front of the 11.4 x 7 x 1.3cm casing.

Gable's spec ups the memory to 64MB of RAM and 64MB of Flash, the CPU to a 300MHz Samsung 2440 and adds a 1.3 megapixel digicam, Zire 72-style. Monroe is essentially a version of Gable with a 400MHz Samsung 2440 processor. It is believed both with ship with Nevo Remote Control software allowing them to act as hi-fi remotes using their IrDA ports. The digicam is backed with still and video capture code.

All three PDAs are said to run Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition. They each ship with SD IO slots, as does the more business-oriented 'Explorer'. Priced at $649, this PDA leverages Windows Mobile 2003 SE's support for a 480 x 640 display to drive its 4in LCD. It is backed by Intel's 624MHz XScale PXA270 chip and provides Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth wireless connectivity. In addition to the SD IO slot, there's a CompactFlash port. It contains 64MB of RAM and 128MB of Flash.

'Explorer' measure 12.9 x 7.7 x 1.5cm, and contains a 1800mAh battery. Eastwood, Gable and Monroe will ship with 950mAh, 970mAh and 1440mAh batteries, respectively.

Beyond the July launch, HP's next round of iPaq launches are set to take place in November with the release of 'Morpheus', the company's curvaceous iPaq to date - it looks like a stretched out Nokia 6600 smartphone.

From a functional perspective, it's a pure-play PDA, however. Like Explorer, Monroe is based on the PXA270 chip, clocked at 312MHz and 624MHz in the two versions of the machine set for the Autumn launch. The first contains 64MB of RAM and 64MB of Flash, the second offers 128MB of each. Both models offer Bluetooth, but the second model also integrates Wi-Fi. Both include SD IO and CompactFlash slots, and ship with 240 x 320 displays. They too will run Windows Mobile 2003 SE, and contain a 970mAh and a 1440mAh battery, respectively.

The Bluetooth-only version will be priced at $349, the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi model at $549.

Dell yesterday extended its own PocketPC line with three new models dubbed the x30 line. ®

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