Tosh passes on MS's PDA OS

Toshiba UK today countered reports that it is shortly to use either US Robotics' Pilot PDA design or Microsoft's 'Pegasus' operating system (OS) for handhelds.

Microsoft will next month unveil Pegasus, its first commercially available OS for pocketable devices. The system will include a pared version of Internet Explorer and an E-mail client, as well as the ability to read Word and Excel files. Toshiba and Compaq have long been development partners of Microsoft but years of research and development have failed to realise a viable product until now.

"Toshiba and Microsoft are pretty close on development work and there is a demand among our customers for a fully-featured small product," said Murray McKerlie, Toshiba product marketing manager. "We have made attempts to address this market with pen-based units but it may be a case of once bitten, twice shy. We've backed many horses, licensing Newton from Apple and working with Microsoft. When the market takes shape, we'll be in the right position, but that is likely to be late in 1997, or early in 1998."

Compaq is rumoured to be interested in badging a unit made by Japanese electronics giant, Casio, but a UK spokesman would only say the firm is "evaluating the market".

Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard and Psion are working on additions to their own PDA lines that will be released before the end of the year.

PCDN Comment: While it will be interesting to see what Microsoft has come up with, its poor track record and the palpable lack of enthusiasm from its key boosters doesn't bode well. HP and Psion, by contrast, have shown they can make usable, popular products.