It's official: Hewlett-Packard (HP) is dropping its Jornada Pocket PC line. HP's current product roadmap (see http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/07may02b.htm) says, in part, that "The Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC, renamed the HP iPAQ Pocket PC, will be \[HP's\] smart handheld platform ... Jornada products will be phased out of the market in 2002." As I predicted in my May 2 commentary, HP is backing the phenomenally successful iPAQ, which has redefined the Pocket PC platform with features such as OS software in flash memory, Intel StrongARM processors, and a daylight-readable display. All of these features are now standard on Pocket PC 2002-compatible devices.

I'm glad (and relieved) that HP is backing a winner, but I'm also sad to see the end of the Jornada Pocket PC product line. HP has made valiant efforts in the handheld space and is responsible for several innovations in the field. The original Windows CE 1.0-based Jornada 328 Handheld PC offered a wider display than that of any other Windows CE device and was the first Windows CE device to offer infrared (IR) printing capability. HP also introduced the first color display in a Windows CE device, as well as the first color Palm-sized PC device—the Jornada 420 Handheld PC, which boasted many unique features, including a protective clear-plastic, flip-over cover, and the ability to use camcorder batteries.

HP's product roadmap adds, "The best of the current HP Jornada technology will be engineered into the \[iPAQ\] platform." At press time, I've learned that among the Jornada products HP intends to retain is the recently introduced Jornada 928 wireless device—though at present, HP has no plans to release it in the United States. HP expects the Jornada 928 to have a 9- to 12-month product cycle, after which the company will replace the device with a wireless-enabled iPAQ model.

HP also plans to retain the soon-to-be-introduced Jornada 728 mini-notebook device, with 64MB of RAM. (This device will succeed the current Jornada 720, which has 32MB of RAM.) The Jornada 560-series Pocket PCs will be available only until inventory is exhausted. HP expects to support existing devices "for the normal 2- to 5-year life cycle of the product, depending on where it is purchased."

This strategy—retaining the best of the Jornada products while focusing on the iPAQ brand in the Pocket PC space—makes sense. Come to think of it, it's pretty close to what I suggested in my May 2 commentary. Right on, HP!