Compaq Computer Corp became the latest handheld computer maker to launch its product in Japan with the iPAQ Pocket PC as new competitors scramble to break into the growing market for personal digital assistants.
PDAs, as they are also called, are increasingly being linked to the Internet via wireless connections in Japan, making this market a prime testing ground for what analysts say will unlock the true potential of handheld computers.
Compaq’s Japan unit said on Wednesday it would begin selling its handheld from mid-April for a list price of 59,800 yen ($481), and that an upgraded version with more memory would be sold from mid-May for 89,800 yen.
Compaq, whose main business is making personal computers and servers for businesses, has been selling the iPAQ in U.S. stores for about a year.
“As you know, PC (personal computer) sales have been decelerating…we must look for new markets,” said Makoto Baba, vice president of Compaq Computing K.K.
The iPAQ will be sold in Japan with an array of add-on devices that will allow users to add new features such as a CompactFlash memory card or wireless modem.
The silver iPAQ features a colour screen and comes with common PDA features such as a stylus, or pen, simple navigation buttons and an infrared port.