HP to unveil Jornada 560 series of handhelds

By Douglas F. Gray, IDG News Service |  Hardware

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) plans to unveil two new models of its Jornada handheld at the Demomobile 2001 conference, bringing more memory and longer battery life to a lighter version of its personal digital assistant.

The Jornada 565 and 568 weigh in at six ounces, compared to previous models, which weighed nine ounces, HP spokeswoman Cherie Britt said. HP has extended the battery life of both models as well, Britt said. The removable rechargeable batteries can now last up to 14 hours, compared to about eight hours on previous versions, she said.

Both models also feature a navigational pad on the front of the unit, as well as a built-in CompactFlash Type I expansion slot. In addition, they are powered by Intel Corp.'s 206MHz StrongArm processor, Britt said. Previous models of the Jornada PDA (personal digital assistant) used Hitachi Ltd.'s 133MHz processor.

The new Jornadas will also be among the first to feature Microsoft Corp.'s new handheld operating system, Pocket PC 2002. Pocket PC 2002 features MSN Instant Messenger, Windows Media Player 8 and Microsoft Reader.

HP has also added an additional 8M bytes of flash ROM, bringing the total to 32M bytes, Britt said. "Even if you completely drain the battery, information stays in the ROM," she said.

The new Jornadas will be aimed at business users, Britt said. "We are definitely amping up our enterprise strategy, and talking with the enterprise more, and so is Microsoft," Britt said. Pocket PC 2002 is also optimized for the enterprise, with support for VPNs (virtual private networks) and terminal server clients, she said. The operating system also allows Pocket PC users to easily "beam" information to users of Palm Inc.'s operating system through the infrared port.

The new Jornadas are about the same dimension as previous models, but the stylus is now built into the machines' case. The units also feature a plastic flip cover and a magnesium case, giving the unit the same two-tone gray color of HP's Omnibook 500 series. This match up also helps HP sell its product family to customers, Britt said. "We're trying to get our products to work better together and have them look similar, so you can recognize it as an HP product," she said.

The HP Jornada 565, which features 32M bytes of RAM, will cost US$599, while the Jornada 568, which features 64M bytes of RAM, will be priced at $649. Both models will be available in stores October 4, with HP offering a $50 mail-in rebate for both products beginning at the launch.

Demomobile continues through Friday in La Jolla, California. The conference is produced by IDG Executive Forums, a subsidiary of International Data Group Inc., which is also the parent company of IDG News Service. More information is available at http://www.demomobile.com.

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