Hewlett-Packard to slash handheld prices

Reports suggest that HP is looking to pick up some sales from former Psion users by bringing in some big price cuts

Hewlett-Packard is reported to be cutting the price of its personal digital assistants (PDAs) by up to 20 percent in an attempt to increase its share of the UK market, following price cuts in Europe last month.

According to Bloomberg, HP is looking to widen its base of customers for its Pocket PC and handheld devices. The company is planning to attract customers who were previously loyal to the products of rival manufacturer Psion.

"As Psion is scaling back on its PDA activity, we hope to attract some of their users,'' Jurgen Anthoni, handheld product manager at HP Europe told Bloomberg. Anthoni added that HP hoped to sell keyboard-based devices, such as the Jornada 720, to those such as salespeople and engineers who regularly work away from the office.

A company spokeswoman was not immediately able to give more details of the price cuts.

In the UK, HP sells Pocket PC-based PDAs such as the Jornada 525 and the Jornada 548. It also sells a small range of keyboard-based products -- the Jornada 710 and Jornada 720.

Psion announced last month that it was effectively pulling out of the consumer handheld market. It is planning to concentrate on selling products to enterprise customers.

HP's price cuts are unlikely to have raised a smile over at Palm. According to latest figures from Dataquest its sales halved in the last quarter, compared to the first three months of the year. The handheld market is currently suffering from a glut of unsold inventory, and HP's rivals could soon find themselves forced to make price cuts of their own.

Palm has already cut the prices of its Vx and m100 devices.

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