Compaq Introduces PC Companion to Provide Seamless PC Connectivity

Pocket-Sized Product Offers Capabilities Unmatched by Competition

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 18, 1996 -- Charting a course for a new breed of handheld products, Compaq Computer Corporation today introduced its PC companion which allows users to access, exchange and organize information with Microsoft® Windows-based desktop and notebook personal computers. Initially available in North America, the PC companion leverages Compaq's strengths in delivering industry-leading computing solutions and partnering with key vendors to provide customers with unmatched product advantages.

Compaq's PC companion supports the Microsoft Windows® CE operating system -- an open, standards-based, scaleable platform designed specifically for products that are extensions of Windows-based PCs. By incorporating the Windows 95 interface, Windows CE allows people to be productive right away with a familiar operating system.

"Today, personal computing allows us to be very productive in creating, manipulating and presenting information. The Compaq PC companion represents a new class of products that will help users become more effective in accessing and using that information," said Ed Olkkola, Vice President, Communications Products Division, Compaq Computer Corporation. "Compaq's PC companion provides consistent, reliable access to information from desktop computers, portable PCs and corporate networks, whether users are in a meeting across the hall or across the country. Who better to offer this extension of the personal computer than Compaq, the world's number one PC company?"

"Today's users require a single solution that will keep their business and personal data current and instantly accessible when they can't be at their desks," said Tim Bajarin, President of Creative Strategies. "The new PC companion, which is based on the Windows CE platform, will enable the entire industry to develop complementary, compatible products, ultimately enhancing the productivity of the user."

Target Market

The Compaq PC companion will appeal to a broad number of business professionals and consumers who use desktop or portable PCs. Additionally, MIS professionals and corporate end users will benefit from the PC companion's data synchronization and remote access capabilities. Consumers who use their desktop or notebook PC to manage their calendar and contact information will find the PC companion the perfect mobile device to keep them in touch.

Designed as an extension of a portable or desktop computer, the pocket-sized PC companion allows users to perform such everyday activities as calendar synchronization, electronic mail and Internet access. Users will typically carry PC companions with them to meetings or while traveling, enabling them to take along critical information, and send and receive messages from their PCs.

The Compaq Advantage

Renowned for its uncompromising quality, reliability and compatibility, as well as its long history of partnerships with other industry leaders, Compaq has selected key vendors to provide PC companion users with unique computing alternatives for their specific needs. These partnerships are unmatched by the competition and provide PC companion users with significant product advantages.

Compaq has exclusively licensed Mail on the Run!® from River Run Software Group®. Mail on the Run!, which comes standard in every Compaq PC companion box, provides direct and remote access to the world's most popular e-mail systems, such as Microsoft Mail and Lotus cc:Mail®, connecting directly or remotely over a landline or circuit switched cellular telephone network.

Recognizing the popularity of other contact manager, group scheduler, word processor and spreadsheet applications, Compaq has included DataViz Desktop To Go™ for Windows CE, which adds the capability to synchronize, import and convert files with numerous software applications and word-processing files.

For the mobile user that needs to stay in touch at all times, Compaq has partnered with SkyTel for two-way wireless messaging services as an option for every Compaq PC companion. By using the PC companion with a SkyTel 2-Way pager (connected via a short, custom serial cable), customers can create, send, receive, reply to, file and forward text messages wirelessly to and from Internet e-mail addressees. Customers use the standard Inbox address book, and full keyboard to type full-text responses for their wireless messaging needs.

Additionally, the mobility and efficient form factor of Compaq's PC companion makes it ideal for an entire range of independent software vendors to develop customized vertical applications leveraging remote computing applications. One example is Physix' forthcoming Windows CE version of PocketChart™, designed for physicians and other healthcare providers to create or automatically update vital patient information at the point-of-care.

Hardware Features

Weighing in at less than one pound, the Compaq PC companion is available in models with 2MB and 4MB RAM. A 2MB add-on memory module also is available. The backlit display offers excellent resolution, capable of displaying four levels of gray for easy-to-read graphics. The display is touch-sensitive so that users can use the included stylus or simply touch the screen to easily navigate through the Windows environment.

PC software and a standard serial interface cable are offered with each unit for seamless connectivity to the PC. Additionally, an approved type II PC card slot can be used for communications or for additional storage capacity. An infrared port is standard for wireless connectivity to a PC or another Compaq PC companion. Battery power is standard with two AA batteries that provide up to 20 hours of life.

Key options available with most models include memory expansion, rechargeable battery pack, convenience cradle (docking station), AC adapter, battery charger, power pack, 10MB of flash RAM, carrying case and a slipcase.

Software Features

Data synchronization between the Microsoft Windows CE Calendar, Contacts and Tasks software, and Microsoft Schedule+ is automatic and configurable by the user.

Pocket versions of Word and Microsoft Excel are included with the product, serving as companion applications to their PC counterparts. Documents can be shared between the Compaq PC companion and the personal computer using the file translation capabilities of the Microsoft Handheld PC Explorer to manage documents and information through the familiar "drag and drop" metaphor.

In addition, Microsoft Windows CE has included a Pocket Internet Explorer browser and e-mail client for connecting to the Internet, and sending and receiving electronic mail.

Connectivity Features

Compaq's PC companion links to a PC through a Direct Cable Connection using the serial cable that comes bundled with the PC companion device. Through the serial port connection, the Microsoft HPC Explorer application will automatically detect a connected PC companion and begin the process of initiating synchronization.

Remote Networking uses the Point-to-Point protocol for communications between a PC companion and a host computer. Compaq's PC companion can be connected either to a corporate LAN through a Remote Access Service account or to the Internet through an Internet Service Provider.

Pricing, Availability and Service

The Compaq PC companion is available immediately through traditional Compaq retail, reseller and direct channels. Additionally, it can be purchased through Compaq Direct Plus at 1-800-888-5858. Prices in North America range from $499 to $699(1). The Compaq PC companion will be announced in additional countries when local language software becomes available.

Because the new handheld is intended as a companion to PCs -- not as a stand alone organizer -- it should be displayed in the PC sections of retail stores. Leveraging Compaq's uncompromising quality and reliability, the PC companion has a one-year, mail-in warranty and is backed by Compaq's 24-hour, seven-days-a-week service and support.

Company Background

Compaq Computer Corporation, a Fortune 100 company, is the fifth largest computer company in the world and the largest global supplier of personal computers, delivering useful innovation through products that connect people with people and people with information. The company is an industry leader in environmentally friendly programs and business practices. Compaq is strategically organized to meet the current and future needs of its customers, offering Internet and enterprise computing solutions, networking products, commercial PC products and consumer PCs. As the leader in distributed enterprise solutions, Compaq has shipped approximately 1 million servers. In 1995, the company reported worldwide sales of $14.8 billion. Compaq products are sold and supported in more than 100 countries through a network of authorized Compaq marketing partners. Customer support and information about Compaq and its products can be found at Compaq Online or by calling 1-800-OK-COMPAQ. Product information and reseller locations can be obtained by calling 1-800-345-1518.

1. Estimated U.S. street prices. Actual reseller prices may vary. Prices do not include options.

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Compaq, Registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Microsoft and Windows are registered Trademarkes of Microsoft Corp. In the United States and for other countries. Product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies.