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(Japanese Site)

  • Windows CE2.0 Machines Target Corporations
  • March 19, 1998 (TOKYO) -- NEC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Japan Ltd., and Hitachi Ltd. debuted mobile terminals and handheld PCs running the Japanese version of Microsoft Windows CE2.0 and targeted for sale at corporations.
    Hitachi plans to sell 60 percent of its products to corporations and 40 percent to homes. NEC and HP Japan expect 50 percent to be sold to corporations and 50 percent to individuals.

    "We will sell our Windows CE2.0 product to companies in the hope of making it an integral part of their systems for sales support. A salesperson will be able to send or receive email and reports outside the work place using Windows CE2.0 machines," said Yoshihiro Kawakatsu, a product planning department manager in Hitachi's information media systems group.

    "We are preparing several mail options for connection of a PC to a LAN, and expect to receive orders from companies' information systems departments," said Yoshi Takayama, senior vice president of NEC.

    Japanese makers are shifting Windows CE towards corporations because the market surrounding PCs is changing.

    Masayasu Bando, a marketing center manager of personal systems group of HP Japan said, "The mobile terminal market for the home has been suffered from sagging sales of PCs, and there's a predominant [Sharp Corp.] Zaurus series that has secured a certain amount of market share. Looking at the corporate market, there's a positive sign in their business mind -- they're thinking about investing in information infrastructure. Sales for corporations will dramatically increase."

    The released Windows CE2.0 products are aimed at a new market independent of the notebook PC or personal digital assistant (PDA) markets. That market is terminals with a 640 x 240 pixel color liquid-crystal display (LCD), operative for around 10 hours, and a retail price in the range of 100,000 yen (US$775).

    However, the terminals weigh as much as a mini-notebook PC. In addition, a mini-note PC from a generation earlier can be bought for around 100,000 yen, which makes a Windows CE machine difficult to differentiate from it and less attractive in the consumer market.

    This is why the makers are shifting their target from general consumers to corporate users by enhancing LAN and groupware functions.

    Even then, the Windows CE2.0 market will stay small for a while. Hitachi's "Persona" is expected to ship a monthly volume of 5,000 units in Japan and NEC's "Mobile Gear II" 15,000. HP Japan's "HP620LX" is to ship 70,000 units annually.

    Even with the planned production by Compaq Computer KK of Japan and Casio Computer Co., Ltd. added to total shipments, the market size as a whole will be 200,000 to 300,000 units a year, HP Japan's Bando said. This is only one-tenth of the notebook PC market of around 2.5 million units shipped annually.

    Judging from the companies' target figures, Windows CE products have yet to become mainstream mobile terminals, market watchers said.

    Related stories: NEC to Sell Windows CE 2.0 Mobile Info Terminals

    (Nikkei Multimedia)

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    Updated: Wed Mar 18 16:39:52 1998