Compaq has announced iPaq, a $US499 PC that it claimed will make it easier for corporate users to access the internet. It will be available in mid-January, although Compaq is taking orders for the device immediately.
Compaq also announced plans to launch a business-to-employee Website that will let companies build customisable employee portals that feature job-specific internet content and services.
The Website, slated to go live in the first quarter of next year, will target IT professionals and offer a range of tools and information such as where to find software patches, drivers and updates from hardware and software vendors.
A range of companies are partnering with Compaq in offering the services, including Microsoft, American Express, Intel, Siebel Systems and CMGI.
Compaq's iPaq represents the latest attempt by a major systems vendor to increase market share by offering low-cost devices that attach quickly and easily to the internet, without the maintenance costs and overhead associated with traditional PCs.
IPaq, which Compaq is positioning as an internet device, weighs 4.5kg and takes about 75 per cent less desktop space than standard commercial PCs, according to Compaq. The system is based on Intel 's 500-MHz Celeron chip and comes with 64Mbytes of memory, a 4.3G-byte hard drive and a user-programmable keyboard. It supports Microsoft Windows 2000-based office applications.