Feeds

Handspring unveils long-awaited Palm clone

Visor offers consumer focus, clever customisation system

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Seven Steps to Software Security

Handspring, the handheld-computer company set up last year by Palm Computing founders Donna Dubinsky and Jeff Hawkins, yesterday unveiled its long-awaited entry into the consumer and business palmtop market. Handspring's VisorDubbed the Visor, the Palm III-style machine will ship in four iMac-esque translucent coloured cased, plus jet black for more sober business types. It's cheaper than Palm's machines, but in other respects Visor is essentially a standard PalmOS-based machine with the familiar monochrome screen, stylus, buttons, and look and feel. What sets the device apart -- or rather, what Handspring hopes will differentiate it -- is Visor's expansion system, called Springboard, designed to turn Visor into the Swiss Army Knife of the palmtop world. The idea is that users will be able to customise their Visors for specific roles. This sounds to us a lot like a standard expansion port, and indeed Visor's initial range of Springboard modules are pretty obvious: RAM expansion packs, software ROMs and a back-up device connector. However, Handspring reckons Springboard will allow themselves and third-parties to add a wide range of features to the basic Visor. Handspring itself has an analog modem in the works, and claims there are pager and cellphone modules on the way. It's a canny idea -- if the modules come. Handspring has yet to release details of Springboard's spec., but presumably it's more akin to a PC Card slot than the Palm's memory upgrade ports so that the device can supply the wide range of power requirements these many different devices will have. The device's success will also depend on Handspring being able to reach a wider audience than the 'executive toy' business that has largely driven sales of the Palm and Windows CE devices. Handspring is definitely targetting the "mass market" -- the colour cases is testament to that -- but the company may need to push its prices down further. Right now (or rather from October, when the thing ships) buyers will pay $179 for a basic model, rising to $249 for a top-of-the-range Visor. Handspring will need to get the basic price down below $100 if it's to appeal to consumers -- as it wants to -- rather than gadget freaks. Consumer are generally used to $5 diaries, notebooks and biros -- persuading them that they should ditch them in favour of the best part of $200 palmtop isn't going to be an easy sell. Still, success may come through Springboard. Offer an MP3 decoder module and get the price that plus the Visor to, say, $199, and you have a device that could compete very nicely with the hordes of $250 digital music players set to hit the market next year... ® Related Story 3Com set to IPO Palm

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.