PC makers to target Psion’s palm-top lead

Microsoft and about 40 other manufacturers are to launch a palm-top computer as a challenge to Psion’s dominance in Europe.

The new machines will use an adapted Windows format called Windows CE. Microsoft claims the new palm-top screens will resemble existing PC screens and will be easier for PC owners to use. Because both the new palm-tops and PCs will share the same technology, there are likely to be fewer problems in transmitting material to office PCs.

Hardware manufacturers Casio, Compaq, Hewlett Packard, Philips and LG Electronics are among those who have pledged to adopt Microsoft’s software system.

Casio hopes to be the first company to launch a product using the new system in the US before Christmas. A UK version will be released early next year.

Palm-top computer operators are likely to link with mobile phone suppliers to produce units combining both the computers and phones. Nokia has entered the market this month with the first combined phone and palm-top computer, called the Nokia 9000.

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