HP updates low-end iPaq with SDIO slot

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) continued to revamp its iPaq handhelds Tuesday with the launch of the h1935, a lightweight personal digital assistant (PDA) that is the least-expensive model in HP's lineup, the company said.

The h1935 is an upgrade of HP's h1910 iPaq PDA, a product that is being phased out, said John Dayan, director of the handheld PC business at HP. The h1935 comes with an SDIO (Secure Digital I/O) slot for connecting the handheld to the Internet via an 802.11 LAN or a WAN (wide-area network) expansion card, he said.

The market for PDAs without some type of connectivity has been falling over the last few quarters, and analysts say the category will not survive over the long term. But by choosing to offer Internet or voice connectivity through an expansion card, HP can produce a lower-cost PDA for customers unconcerned with wireless capabilities, Dayan said.

Running a wireless connection via an expansion card does drain the PDAs battery more quickly than a built-in wireless chip will do, but the difference is very small, Dayan said.

HP chose to use Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s S3C2410 processor running at 203MHz in the h1935. The h1910 used Intel Corp.'s 200MHz XScale processor, which consumes more power than the Samsung chip, and takes up more space on the PDA's motherboard, Dayan said.

The other new component of the h1935 is Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Mobile 2003 operating system. HP launched several iPaq handhelds alongside the launch of the operating system in June, but chose to delay the h1935 for fear of it getting lost among the other PDA launches in June, Dayan said.

The h1935 comes with 64M bytes of SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), 56M bytes of which is user accessible. The device also comes with 16M bytes of ROM, Dayan said.

HP's new iPaq measures 4.46 inches high by 2.75 inches wide by 0.5 inches thick (11.33 cm by 6.98 cm by 1.28 cm). It has a 3.5-inch transflective TFT (thin-film transistor) display, and weighs 4.37 ounces (124 grams).

The h1935 is available as of Tuesday through retail and commercial channels in the U.S. and Canada, and on HP's Web site for US$199, after buyers redeem a $50 mail-in rebate. An almost-identical version called the h1930 was launched in other parts of the world in June with a different warranty and different pricing, Dayan said.

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