Microsoft's Windows CE handheld operating system could soon appear on devices that are larger than palmtop computers.
Microsoft has acknowledged that many users want systems that fit between the palmtop and the fully-fledged notebook; in other words, devices which "occupy a briefcase".
Jon Magill, the company's vice president of mobiles, said: "There's been a resurgence of interest in that market. Many of our OEMs have indicated they want a platform where they can basically touch-type, but without overheads."
He refused to say whether or not NEC, one of Microsoft's CE partners, was readying such a device, as reported in the US. However, any such device could threaten notebook manufacturers including IBM, Toshiba and Apricot.
Although notebook manufacturers try to differentiate their offerings from palmtops by releasing high specification units, these models are often too complex for many users. One advantage of the CE platform, Magill said, was that it would be lighter and more powerful than say Apple's Newton PDA. Any such device could also use an operating system familiar to most corporate users, he suggested.
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