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Handspring PDA revenues up 51 per cent

Retail success brings home the bacon - high-end PDA in the works

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PalmOS licensee Handspring released its first post-IPO earnings report yesterday and promptly shouted about a 51 per cent hike in sequential revenues.

The company also admitted it is preparing a higher-end PDA, even as Palm is readying a low-end device aimed at the market Handspring has taken as its own.

For the three months to 1 July, the fourth of fiscal 2000, Handspring's revenues hit $51.8 million, up from $34.3 million during the previous quarter. This time last year, the company had yet to ship any product.

During the quarter Handspring began selling its Visor PDA through retail outlets as well as its own Web site. The product quickly emerged as a best-seller, propelling Handspring to the number two slot in the retail chart, giving it a quarter of the retail PDA market.

For the year as a whole, Handspring recorded revenues of $101.9 million.

From an operational perspective, Handspring last $5.9 million during Q4, but its overall loss widens to $19.5 million (43 cents a share) when one-off deferred stock compensation charges are taken into account. For the full fiscal year, the company lost $20.2 million (177 cents a share).

Speaking to CNET, Handspring CEO Donna Dubinsky said: "There will be an offsetting impact as new products come in at higher price points." That's clearly as sign Handspring is looking at extending its product range upwards into Palm territory.

Palm focuses primarily on the business and executive markets, though it has offered the IIIe as a token presence in the consumer space. However, the company will soon replace that machine with another, codenamed Calvin and dubbed the M100, that will challenge Handspring's dominance of the consumer market more aggressively, primarily through the youth-friendly use of exchangeable colour covers. ®

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