ViewSonic is continuing to branch out from its traditional core business of monitors by following up its recently announced Tablet PC with the launch of a Windows Pocket PC-based PDA (personal digital assistant).

The ViewSonic V35 Pocket PC, is due out in the States in November, priced $299 (£191), although there are no plans to launch in Europe until early next year.

With its low price tag the ViewSonic V35 Pocket PC is expected to the be the least expensive Pocket PC handheld on the market, said Ed Suwanjiandar, product manager for Microsoft's mobile devices division. He called it a "sweet spot" price that would put it in better competition with Palm-based devices.

"We're taking price away as a point where we've been disadvantaged," he said.

It looks as if the lower end of the Pocket PC market could be becoming more competitive, as Dell is also rumoured to be planning the launch of a budget handheld later this year.

"We know that there is going to be some price erosion as new products come out in the next year," said Randy Giusto, vice president of personal technology and services at IDC.

The low price of the handheld is due mainly to decreasing component costs, Suwanjiandar said. Displays, flash memory and microprocessors, which account for the bulk of the hardware costs, have been coming down in price as the market grows.

"Memory prices aren't as wacky as they were in the past, and there's more integration at the chipset level so the component count is going down," said Giusto. "It's just basic cost evolution."

The ViewSonic V35 Pocket PC will weigh in at 139g, include a 300MHz XScale processor and boast 32MB of flash memory and 64MB of RAM. It will also feature a 3.5in colour display. It will come with an SD (Secure Digital) expansion slot, speaker, headphone jack, microphone and a jog dial.