Microsoft has announced the latest flavour of Windows CE, designed for handheld PCs with keyboards.
The software giant said the Handheld PC 2000 platform is a "natural step" up from Pocket PC, the version of CE for palm-sized computers launched earlier this year.
Hewlett Packard (HP) has announced the Jornada 720 keyboard-based handheld PC, which runs Handheld PC 2000.
Thomas Schnegelsberg, business development manager for Microsoft's mobile devices group, said both Pocket PC and Handheld PC are based on Windows CE 3.0, but are designed for different devices.
"Pocket PC is for devices that fit in your pocket, whereas Handheld PC 2000 is aimed at handheld PCs with keyboards," he said.
"There are several things which are different for these designs. First of all, we are targeting primarily enterprise customers with these devices and it is critical to include integration of a thin client so that users can use Windows Terminal Server with it."
Schnegelsberg said Microsoft has also upgraded the browser in Handheld PC 2000 to Internet Explorer 4.0, which supports XML and HTML.
"These formats are used on intranets for exchanging documents and templates within a corporation," he said.
"We have also introduced a number of new APIs. One for encryption and one for a smartcard reader. We have also included Windows Media Player so a user can run different voice applications on the device."
Although Microsoft has added several new features to the platform, Schnegelsberg said the user interface would stay the same for user familiarity.
HP's Jornada 720 has a 206Mhz StrongArm processor, 51Mhz memory data bus and 2D graphics acceleration. It also includes a built-in smartcard reader, 56Kbps v.90 modem and provides around nine hours of battery life.
The device will be available from the middle of September and is expected to cost around £665.
Several other manufacturers are expected to launch devices based on the platform.
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