Compaq Adds 'Push' to Handheld E-Mail Device

SAN MATEO (08/14/2000) - Compaq Computer Corp. Tuesday is set to announce the arrival of a wireless handheld device that will be branded as part of the company's iPaq family, according to a source close to the Houston-based company.

The yet-to-be-named Compaq handheld will be a RIM device according to the source, meaning that the handheld will utilize Waterloo, Ontario-based Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry operating system.

"It'll be the same BlackBerry-type device we all know," the source said.

BlackBerry continues to gain market share strength through licensing agreements with major IT enterprise suppliers such as Dell Computer Corp. The Round Rock, Texas-based maker of built-to-order-computers has established a marketing campaign around the device, which uses a packet-based network to automatically forward, or push, e-mail messages without user intervention.

Now it appears Compaq also will license BlackBerry in a straightforward deal that will simply re-label the device as part of the Compaq iPaq series.

Although some industry observers have predicted the new Compaq handheld will challenge Santa Clara, California-based Palm Inc. and its family of Palm handheld computers, the Compaq source said that competing with Palm was the job of Compaq's Pocket PC, also part of the iPaq line, and not this newest Compaq handheld.

The concept of an always-on wireless technology for e-mail is what corporate IT departments are moving toward, said Tim Scannell, an analyst at Mobile Insights Inc. in Mountain View, California, who stressed he could not comment directly on Compaq's unannounced product. Compaq has great brand recognition in the enterprise and Scannell speculated that the introduction of a Compaq device that uses the BlackBerry service will benefit the company's installed base immediately, although he was doubtful if it would garner new customers for the computer giant.

"It would be a logical move by Compaq to extend their presence into the enterprise with a communications-centric viewpoint," Scannell said.

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