Microsoft Corporation will release a new platform based on Windows CE 2.1, called Handheld PC Professional, that will usher in a new era of machines that are almost indistinguishable from today's smaller sub-notebooks running Windows 95. The specification for this platform--code-named "Jupiter"--calls for Windows CE devices than run within a laptop-like portable machine with a 10" color screen, while using a new Graphical User Interface (GUI), a wider set of "Pocket" applications, other new technology.

Most notable among the new software included in Jupiter devices is Pocket Access, a slimmed-down version of Microsoft's desktop database application. These devices will also include Pocket InkWriter (a note-taking app), Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket PowerPoint (all in ROM), and Pocket Internet Explorer.

Microsoft will position these devices--which will be sold by Compaq, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and other PC makers--as PC companions for mobile users that need light, dependable, PC-like machines