Samsung, Microsoft design cheap Pocket PC PDA

Samsung, Microsoft design cheap Pocket PC PDA

Microsoft and Samsung Semiconductor are working on concept designs for personal digital assistants, aiming to bring down the price of handhelds based on Microsoft's Pocket PC software.

Electronics makers will be able to cut the cost of development and get to market quicker by using the ready-made PDA designs, the companies said. The first concept design, announced on Monday, is for "an ultra low cost" and "ultra small" Pocket PC.

The design incorporates a Samsung ARM9-based S3C2410 application processor, Microsoft's Windows-Powered Pocket PC software and a 3.5-inch QVGA greyscale or colour display. Expansion capabilities are offered through MMC (MultiMedia Card), SD (Secure Digital) and SDIO (Secure Digital I/O) slots, according to the Microsoft and Samsung statement.

A device made using the greyscale display design would measure 10.4 centimetres by 7.1 centimetres and weigh 90 grams, the companies said. In comparison, Palm's Zire, a recently announced $US99 entry-level PDA, measures 11.2 centimetres by 7.4 centimetres and weighs 118 grams, according to Palm's Web site.

The street price for a PDA built using the design depends on the hardware makers, but should be "matching or beating the lowest Pocket PC prices today", Microsoft said. For example, one of the lowest-priced in the market is Toshiba America's e310, a colour screen Pocket PC PDA, which is available now from about $US300.

The concept designs are an attempt to help Microsoft in its battle with PalmSource for market share on the PDA market. In the third quarter of this year, 50.2 per cent of PDAs shipped worldwide ran the Palm OS, compared to 28.3 per cent using Microsoft's software.

Samsung Semiconductor is a subsidiary of Seoul-based Samsung Electronics. Both Microsoft and Samsung will be pitching the designs to manufacturers. Ultimately a manufacturer would buy the components from Samsung and other component suppliers, Microsoft said.

Microsoft and Samsung did not announce any takers for their PDA designs, nor did they say if Samsung would make a PDA based on the designs.

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