Philips will launch its first Windows CE device and DVD-ROM drive at the CeBIT 97 trade fair, in Hanover, later this month.
Velo, the Windows CE device, marks a new step for the company, according to Doug Dunn, chairman and chief executive officer of Philips Sound & Vision.
Speaking at a pre-CeBIT briefing in Eindhoven last week, Dunn commented: "We have joined with Microsoft to produce one of the first generation of handheld PCs. Velo is one example of the direction in which Philips is moving. We currently don't have very many PC products."
He went on to say that the company's entry into the CE market will pitch it head-to-head against PC companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft.
Although he declined to give firm details of Velo, Dunn said it would offer many similar features to other CE devices: full Windows compatibility, Web browser, built-in modem for fax and Email. Velo will also contain a Philips semiconductor and display.
Despite Dunn's confidence in the product's design, he was cautious on market potential. "I don't claim this will be a huge success." he said.
"Gone are the days of 60% market penetration."
He said initially the product will be targeted at mobile professionals.
"Later when it comes down in size and price it will appeal to consumers."
Philips' DVD-ROM drive will also make its debut at CeBIT. According to Philips, DVD will be the next generation of optical storage technology, encompassing video, audio and data storage. It has the capability to store up to 4.7Gb of data on a single (single layer) disk, compared to CD-ROM's 680Mb.
Mass production of the Philips DVD-ROM drive is scheduled for the second half of this year. Sony and Zenith will also launch DVD players this year.
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