Microsoft will bring out its CE mobile device by Christmas for under $500, although some configurations could cost as little as $300.
Executive VP of Microsoft US, Steve Ballmer, told PC Dealer last week that the machine will use a small version of Windows, use a low-powered Hitachi chip, will run Java applets and, in his words, 'will be a kissing cousin to your PC'.
The machine is backed by a huge consortium of hardware manufacturers.
Ballmer said this will succeed unless Microsoft, Intel, Compaq and HP 'screw things up'.
But he insisted the machine is not a network computer or a replacement for desktops. 'We are good at taking decent ideas and making them exciting.
'We're no good at taking dumb ideas and making them successful. This will be a thing you can carry in your pocket.'
This is not Microsoft's first foray into handheld devices. Five years ago it pushed Pen for Windows on the platform.
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