Windows-based handhelds down, but not out

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Windows-based handhelds down, but not out

Despite defections by some manufacturers and the growing success of rival Palm Computing, makers of Microsoft Windows CE-based handheld devices plan to release several new products next year.

Among them: NEC’s Mobile Gear II MC/R730F, which reportedly can identify fingerprints, requiring users to touch a sensor to turn the computer on.

Meanwhile, Hewkett-Packard is set to introduce a lighter, thinner version of its palm-size Jornada PC in Japan next summer.

Microsoft has revised the Windows CE operating system three times in response to customer and retailer complaints. Still, figures show sales of CE-based devices lagging behind competitor Palm Computing, which accounts for nearly 75 percent of all digital devices sold.

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