Microsoft’s Dual Approach to Handhelds

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By Elad Yakobowicz, Senior News Editor
Microsoft encourages computer makers to license the more complete Pocket PC package, which includes the Windows CE operating system, user interface software and slimmed-down applications. But the software maker has quietly continued to license the core of Pocket PC–Windows CE–to companies that want to offer handhelds with their own software.
Basically, Microsoft is encouraging companies to license the Windows CE OS so that they can develop their own user interface. Although Microsoft may make a bit more money selling the “entire” Pocket PC package including the Windows CE OS, etc. Microsoft still might be getting themselves in trouble.
Casio, for one, has already taken Microsoft’s advice and has developed their own unique interface for the Windows CE OS. They included their new GUI (graphics user interface) in their new handheld, the Cassiopeia BE-300 Pocket Manager. The device, which was said to be targeting business professionals, is being sold for $300 USD.
Although Hewlett-Packard and Compaq have turned to lesser quality features in their Pocket PC’s to make them less expensive, Casio has been able to provide a strong processor in their PDA with a great color screen, and slimmed down versions of Internet Explorer, Word, and Excel.
If Casio’s attempt at this is a success, then expensive Pocket PC’s might become less attractive.

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