CE Stocks News/Analysis In Brief (MSFT, RIMM, HPQ, ERICY, NAPS, NOK, FLSH, DELL, AMD)

by: Mick Weinstein

RIMM and MSFT: The Wall St. Journal (sub. req.) reports that Microsoft will today announce the first four handsets to include its BlackBerry-like immediate push email solution:

They are manufactured by cellphone and computer makers, and include Hewlett-Packard Co.'s new hand-held computer called the iPAQ hw6900 (pictured). In addition, several wireless service providers are launching services to allow customers to take advantage of the push-email service. Those providers include Vodafone Group PLC and Cingular Wireless, which BellSouth Corp. owns jointly with AT&T Inc.

Art Samberg's opinion notwithstanding, if the Microsoft product manages to duplicate the smooth functionality of BlackBerry's software, and/or if RIMM takes a more significant hit from the upcoming court ruling than we're expecting, Microsoft could establish itself as a top player in this booming market. But that's still a big 'if'.

IT managers and millions of MS desktop users do want their mobile devices to integrate seamlessly with their PCs, and that's the opportunity just waiting for MS here.

HPQ: Hewlett-Packard will separate its handhelds/smartphone operations from its notebooks business. It looks like the latest of Mark Hurds' prudent moves -- this one will capitilize on the huge growth in the smartphone sector.

ERICY and NAPS: Ericsson and Napster announced a mobile joint venture for Europe and North America -- Napster Mobile. From the press release:

This new comprehensive and feature-rich service allows consumers to purchase artist images, ring tones and full-length songs via WAP as well as via an easy to use integrated software application on their mobile handsets.

NOK and FLSH: A Wall St. Journal article (sub. req.) indicates that the massive memory needs of next gen smartphones are being approached from a numbers of angles. Mini hard-drives like the one on Nokia's new N91 have large capacity, but are too fragile. Nokia's MMC removable cards are gaining popularity. But M-Systems (FLSH) is attempting to expand the memory on the integrated SIM card -- an approach the wireless telcos are most likely to adopt, as it maintains their control over paid download content.

DELL and AMD: In the wake of the Apple/Intel deal, is a Dell/AMD partnership imminent?