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Handspring converts PDA to cell phone

For a price, and a fairly hefty one at that

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New hybrid storage solutions

Handspring is launching next Monday an add-on cartridge, called VisorPhone, that turns a PDA into a cell phone.

It claims to be the first to market with this type of product. It is also rather pricey.

Slightly slower on the uptake in other areas though, the company will also release its first product with a colour display, making it just about last to market after Palm, HP Casio and Compaq.

The phone will only be sold through the company's website, with service contracts from BellSouth and Pacific Bell. Coming in at a rather exorbitant $299, this is clearly not aiming at the pay-as-you-go market.

Using the microphone built into the PDA, the cartridge includes software that provides caller ID and integration with the Visor address book. It also has conference calling, missed call identification and speed dial. Apart from the conference calling, that sounds alarmingly like my phone. And that even has a calculator on it.

Handspring did not rule out future discount scheme, but said that pricing was really down to regional providers.

It should ship by the end of the year in the United States, with similar products finding their way onto shelves in Europe by next year. ®

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