Palo Alto (CA) – Hewlett-Packard (HP) today announced an iPaq handheld, which makes use of a feature that has made Research in Motion’s Blackberry devices a runaway success: The new model hw6900 is first to offer a push email functionality provided by Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system.
Windows CE computers always have been successful a introducing and establishing new features in the handheld space, but typically focused on combining already popular features of various platforms into one portable device. HP’s hw6900 Mobile Messenger holds up that tradition by integrating not only a range of wireless technologies, but also to bring push email to the Windows platform.
The hw6900 includes four different radios to allow users to stay connected to voice and data networks. There is a quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE to access mobile phone services, WiFi capability, GPS support and integration of Bluetooth. According to HP, the device also is compatible with Skype Mobile software to enable voice calls via WiFi connections. Other features include a QWERTY keyboard and a 1.3-megapixel on certain models.
While GPS will be appreciated by many customers, the key addition is the integration of Microsoft’s Direct Push Technology, which enables users to “automatically receive new email, calendar items, tasks or contacts without incurring additional email middleware expenses.” Push email so far has only been offered by RIM’s Blackberry, which has become the most successful PDA recently. According to Gartner, RIM sold 862,000 Blackberrys in the third quarter of 2005, while HP sold just 548,000 iPaqs. RIM topped the PDA ranking with a 25% market share, compared to HP’s 16%.
Windows CE was still the most used operating system in PDAs with a market share of 49.2%, according to Gartner. RIM was estimated to have captured just 25%, but showed stronger growth than Windows CE: With 52.6% year-over-year growth, RIM clearly outpaced Windows CE, which gained just 23.4% in the same time frame.
HP’s iPaq hw6900 series is expected to be available in the Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa regions this spring and in North America in summer. Pricing has not been announced.