The future of Windows CE just gets brighter everyday. In addition to the car-based devices and WebTV integration mentioned in previous WinInfos, Microsoft has some interesting plans in store for their light OS...

Microsoft and its Windows CE hardware partners are planning a sub-$300 device based on CE 2.0 that will compete with U.S. Robotics' popular PalmPilot pocket-sized device. The plans were unveiled last week at the Windows CE Developers Conference in San Diego where details about the next generation CE operating system were finally shown to an eager crowd. Microsoft will official launch Windows CE 2.0 in November at Comdex, exactly a year after the 1.0 launch: a preview is expected in September.

Along with the software are new hardware reference platforms for machines that will run Windows CE 2.0. One, code-named "Gryphon"--is aimed squarely at the USR PalmPilot. Gryphon devices will be similar in size and shape to the PalmPilot and will include a pen and handwriting recognition capabilities. The PalmPilot, in contrast, requires the user to write a particular way. Gryphon devices will support Internet email and paging. They will come with 1 or 2MB of RAM and 4MB of ROM too.

As Gryphon evolves into the smallest member of the Windows CE family, the middle tier will be occupied by successors to today's handheld PCs that run CE 1.x. The next generation of these devices are code-named "Mercury"; they will support 24-bit color and Windows CE 2.0. Mercury devices, like the Gryphon machines, will launch at Fall Comdex in November.

New high-end members of the Windows CE family will run on handheld computers that weigh less than 3 pounds, support large color displays with VGA resolution, larger keyboards, and faster processors. These new machines will come with at least 8MB of RAM. These devices will be available in early 1998