---------- ---------- PC Pro Realworld Computing: Paul Lynch - PDAs

CE 2.0 Upgrades

MS have announced that there will be an upgrade path to CE 2.0 for existing HPC owners. The upgrade involves swapping a ROM daughter board, and can be performed easily by users; this feature is part of the hardware specification for Windows CE (or, more accurately, for what Microsoft calls HPCs). Casio are offering this free of charge for users who buy Cassiopeia's between early September 1997 (the date of the announcement) and December 31 1997, the same date range as Philips are suggesting for their Velo; Hewlett-Packard are extending the offer from 2 September 1997 to 28 February 1998, but for the HP320LX only, not the cheaper HP300LX. Earlier Cassiopeia and Velo purchasers can buy an upgrade kit for $99.99. Release of Windows CE 2.0 is therefore expected during the fourth quarter of 1997, and could possibly be available by the time you read this.

Windows CE 2.0 has been made available already to beta testers, including registered developers who have signed non-disclosure agreements. For Microsoft, this would appear to be a short, almost abrupt, beta test period, and testers are being remarkably quiet about features that will be in CE 2.0. However, the fact that several additional manufacturers, namely Sharp, Toshiba and Fujitsu, have announced new Windows CE machines, indicates that we can confidently expect CE 2.0 to include support for more processors and for colour screens.

One strong possibility is that Intel 486 processors will be supported, opening the way to use Windows CE as the basis of a low end range of PC compatible desktop and laptop computers as well as handhelds. Other features should close up obvious gaps, including printing support, support for local area networks possibly including SMB file sharing, and comprehensive upgrades to the capabilities of the Pocket Word and Pocket Excel applications. We already are expecting substantial upgrades to Pocket Internet Explorer, including Java, and possibly Active X in some form.

Words and design by:
Paul Lynch
Last updated: September 12, 1997

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