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ViewSonic prepares to launch low-cost pocket PC

ViewSonic best known for computer monitors and displays, is dipping its hands into the personal digital assistant market with the release of a low-cost pocket PC device.

Due out in November, the ViewSonic V35 Pocket PC is expected to be the least expensive Pocket PC handheld with a price tag of $299 (£190).

Ed Suwanjiandar, product manager for Microsoft's mobile devices division, said the lower price would help it compete with devices that run operating systems from PalmSource. He said PocketPC has been at a disadvantage in the past because the devices that ran the OS were dearer with PalmOS powered handheld computers.

The cost of displays, flash memory and microprocessors, which account for the bulk of the hardware costs, have been falling as the market grows.

Existing pocket PC devices typically cost between $399 (£254) to $799 (£508), depending on whether features such as wireless connectivity and display quality are included. With the introduction of the ViewSonic V53, some analysts expect prices to fall significantly during the next year.

ViewSonic said it would ship a custom PowerPoint file viewer and a picture viewer application with the ViewSonic V35 Pocket PC. The V35 devices would, initially, be available only in North America. It is not set to arrive in Europe until early next year.

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