HP Launches Handhelds, Wireless Printer

The hardware maker debuts its Windows Mobile 5.0-based iPaqs, including one model with a biometric fingerprint reader.

Hewlett-Packard Co. on Tuesday launched a handful of iPaq handhelds running on Microsoft Corp.s latest Windows Mobile software, along with a new mobile printer.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company introduced one new line of PDA (personal digital assistant), dubbed the HP iPaq rx1950 series Pocket PC, and several upgraded models in its iPaq hx2000 series. All of the handhelds carry Microsofts new Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system, which promises upgraded versions of the Redmond, Wash.-based software giants Office productivity tools, along with its Windows Media Player 10 Mobile multimedia application.

The iPaq rx1950, which weighs in at 4.4 ounces, features integrated Wi-Fi connectivity, 33MB of onboard memory, a digital expansion slot and a lithium-ion battery. The iPaq hx2000 devices are the first from HP to offer a biometric fingerprint reader, tabbed as the hx2790, while all of the new devices offer an expanded security software package and up to 144MB of memory. The iPaq hx2490 and hx2790 also feature Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth wireless technology has been added across the entire hx2000 series.

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HP said the Paq rx1950 will retail for $299, with the hx2190, hx2490 and hx2790 made available for $349, $399 and $499 respectively. The manufacturer has also made a Windows Mobile 5.0 upgrade package available for its HP iPaq hx2110, hx2410 and hx2750 series PDAs, for $39 per device.

While manufacturers such as HP continue to crank out new PDAs, some experts have said that the market for the devices continues to become more fragmented, as businesses continue to invest in the larger handhelds, but consumers lean toward smaller machines. Martin Reynolds, analyst with Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner, said he doesnt expect the consumer market for PDAs to grow soon because consumers are opting for so-called smart phones, or wireless telephones with many of the same PC-like features as the larger handhelds.

HP also introduced its latest mobile color printer, designed specifically for use with notebooks and handhelds. The Deskjet 460 offers both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology for wireless printing. The battery-powered device, which will retail for $249, claims the ability to produce roughly 450 pages of text per charge, and as many as 16 color pages per minute.

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