Philips Electronics, long a supporter of Microsoft's Windows CE operating system, doesn't have any definitive plans to release a new handheld PC running the upcoming Windows CE Handheld PC Professional Edition operating system, known as Jupiter.
Instead of releasing a new version of it's handheld computer, Velo, the company is going to focus instead on its plans for Nino, a palm-sized PC device based on a small-form-factor version of Windows CE, a company spokeswoman said.
Philips' "wait-and-see approach" to its Velo machines and its shift in focus to the palm-sized Nino stems partly from concerns about the viability of Handheld PC Professional Windows CE. With consumers already having many choices between palm-size, handheld and sub-notebook mobile devices, Philips wants to wait and see what happens in the market before investing in yet another handheld platform, the spokeswoman said. Jupiter is aimed at larger form-factor machines -- between the size of a handheld PC and a sub-notebook.
"We are waiting for the public to react to the (Windows CE) 2.1 device before going ahead to build another model," the spokeswoman said, referring to a Velo handheld PC already on the market. The spokeswoman said the Jupiter upgrade doesn't offer enough new features to make a large difference in the performance of the Velo line of handheld computers at this time. "The market might not even notice these changes," she said.
Philips' handheld computer, Velo, has faced tough competition in the market already, and the company isn't sure if putting out an upgrade of Velo based on Handheld PC Professional would make sense at the moment, said a Philips spokeswoman today.
Introduced in June, Nino, on the other hand, has been selling well and has little competition, the spokeswoman said. Only two other vendors are manufacturing palm-size PCs based on Windows CE, Casio and Everex Systems The market for palm-size Windows CE machines is much less crowded, she said.
"It's a mass market product and very good for us," she said. "We are planning upgrades of Nino as appropriate."
But aside from expressing a lack of confidence in the Handheld PC Professional Edition's feature set, Philips is also concerned about the lack of consistency in the handheld market today, the spokeswoman said.
"Our feeling is that the mobile computing market has so many options nowadays that people can become a little bit confused," the spokeswoman said. We want to see how people react to Jupiter before coming out with a Velo product based on the operating system, she said. "Based on that reaction we will make our decision to upgrade Velo or not."
However, that doesn't mean that Philips is abandoning Velo altogether and the company will still continue to product Velo machines based on Windows CE 2.1 while demand exists, she said. Existing users can be assured that Philips will continue to support the Velo machines already on the market, she added.
Philips, based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, can be contacted at +31-40-79-1111 or on the World Wide Web at http://www.philips.com/.