Microsoft's operating system for handheld devices, Windows CE, is receiving increased support from third-party manufacturers.
Details of the system are to be announced at Comdex in Las Vegas later today. Companies who have already announced they are to build devices based on the operating system include Casio, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, NEC, and Philips. The first of these products are expected to ship next year.
The new devices are expected to operate as extensions to existing desktop systems. Prices are expected to start at about $500. The standard specification for the handheld devices is expected to include a 480 x 480 pixel touch-screen, an infra-red port, a serial port for file transfer with a PC, a speaker, 2Mb RAM and one PC Card slot, The OS is also expected to find its way into a range of devices including set-top boxes and mobile phones.
Microsoft's new software, previously code-named Pegasus, is an attempt to bring Windows functionality to hand-held systems but also take into account memory and hardware restraints.
This is the company's second attempt at entering this marketplace as it's previous operating system WinPad was slow to take off. The new system is to rival Apple's Newton handheld device and operating system that recently received a major upgrade.