Japanese giant Hitachi has taken the brave decision to jump in with both feet for Windows CE, at a time when there is growing speculation that vendors are pulling away from the operating system.
Hitachi confirmed that it will launch a tablet PC device into the UK market within the next month.
Keith Simpson, distribution sales manager at Hitachi business systems, said: "Hitachi is putting its welly behind CE."
He hinted that Hitachi was making CE its key development platform and is dedicating more effort to the lightweight operating system than other systems.
There has been speculation that a number of vendors, including LG and Philips, are pulling out of the CE market.
Simpson commented: "Hitachi is a very conservative company. We wouldn't have got into the market if we didn't think it was the future of mobile technology."
The tablet PC uses the same MIPs architecture as the much-hyped Sega Dreamcast, which hits British shelves at midnight tonight, but the vendor claims that the tablet is not a toy.
Hitachi is aiming the tablet at the retail and healthcare space. The vendor is planning other versions, one with a brighter screen and one that is water resistant, which, it believes, will be particularly popular with Welsh farmers.
There are no plans to dabble in the variety of form factors available from other vendors, like those in the HP Journada range. Both Data General and Fujitsu have plans to launch tablet PCs.
Hitachi claims that the differential will be on connectivity. The device supports a PCMCIA card, USB and infrared, and there are plans for modem card support.
The vendor is seeking ISVs that are interested in developing applications for the device, which it admits will be "pretty useless" as it is. Among others, it is talking to UK company Epsilon.
The tablet PC will last more than 12 hours before recharging. But it remains to be seen if, in the long run, the CE tablet proves to be a Dreamcast or a bitter pill.
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