New Microsoft MicroPDA Coming

A new breed of wireless PDA-phone is coming next year and Microsoft is expected to make the biggest waves.

Intrinsyc Software Thursday said it has inked a licensing deal with the Redmond, Wash.-based behemoth for its next generation wireless handheld reference design MicroPDA.

The Vancouver, British Columbia-based company sells hardware reference platforms, engineering services for redesign, Embedded Web Services development environment, framework and runtime

The new combination PDA-phone handset supports Microsoft’s Windows CE .NET operating system, the Microsoft Smartphone 2002 software, and the Microsoft Windows Powered Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition software, as well as multiple microprocessors such as Intel’s newest chip, the PXA250 XScale running at 400MHz as well as Intel’s SA-1110 and Hitachi’s SH3/SH4 microprocessors. The handset also supports Linux operating systems.

The MicroPDA also features GSM/GPRS tri-band communications, a four-inch color TFT VGA display (touch screen LCD with backlight), 64Mb SDRAM, 32 Mb Intel Strata Flash, Bluetooth and IrDA communication support, USB client/host controller, Multimedia Card/Secure Digital (MMC/SD) support, compact Flash, Ethernet and RS232 serial support, SIM card support, internal speaker, microphone with headset detection and a real time clock.

While Microsoft officials could not comment specifically about the size or scope of the purchase agreement, a company spokesperson did say that Microsoft Research in the U.K. purchased the MicroPDA to use in some research projects.

MicroPDAs are not unique to Intrinsyc, several companies including Xircom , which makes the credit card-sized REX 6000 MicroPDA are working to cram as many features as possible into the smallest amount of space. However, Intrinsyc says it may have an edge with OEMs if Microsoft is in their camp.

“This is very exciting, cutting-edge technology,” said Intrinsyc president and CEO Neil McDonnell. “The fact Intel has collaborated on this project and Microsoft has purchased the MicroPDA reinforces the value of Intrinsyc’s solutions for developing more advanced PDAs and other intelligent devices.”

Intrinsyc also boasts a growing customer list including Microsoft, Intel, Philips, Siemens, General Electric, Ford, and BEA Systems.

“Contributing to the development of the next generation of mobile and small footprint devices, Intrinsyc is delivering an innovative reference design that can utilize the full functionality of the Windows CE .NET operating system and other Microsoft mobile device platforms,” said Microsoft senior director of the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group Keith White. “The MicroPDA provides developers support for wireless networking, multimedia and Internet functionality, speeding up the development process for companies seeking to deliver innovative handheld devices.”

Microsoft is expected to take the designs and hand them off to smaller OEM’s like Taiwanese-based Compal and HTC as it did in its Smartphone partnership with London-based Orange SA.

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