While Microsoft spent a week at CES pushing Windows CE 2.0, the company is hard at work on the next version, 3.0--code named "Jupiter"--that will be released this summer. Windows CE 3.0 is aimed at sub-notebooks, but it could well change the landscape for all notebook and laptop hardware as the OS is expected to be more robust than Windows 95/98 and perform better on mobile hardware.

Jupiter-based machines support 640 x 480 screens and USB ports, but they also consume less power, weigh (much) less, and cost less than Windows 95/98 laptops and notebooks. Jupiter systems should weigh about 2 pounds and cost $1000. They will include at least 16 MB of RAM, 16 MB of ROM, and touch screens and track balls. The devices will run for 8 to 15 hours on batteries and include no moving parts. For most mobile workers, who primarily use email and word processors, a Jupiter machine will make more sense than a laptop.

On the minus side, Windows CE is still pretty slow compared to Windows 95 and power-users will want some Windows 95 features that aren't found in CE yet, such as software compatibility and games support. Windows 95-based laptops are supposed to drop in price dramatically this year as well, making them more competitive with Jupiter devices