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Handspring Edge to launch Monday

Supports 'Springboard 2.0' - or the end of the add-in format?

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Handspring's latest PalmOS PDA, the Visor Edge, will be launched on Monday, just a week after Palm's upgraded consumer palmtop, the m100, was unveiled and a week ahead of the arrival of the high end Palm m500 and colour m505.

According to sources close to Handspring, the company will hold a press conference on Monday at which it will announce its new high end Visor Edge model. The Deep Throats all claim the device ships with 8MB of memory, a monochrome screen, PalmOS 3.5 on un-upgradeable ROM and uses an iPaq-style clip-on adaptor to take Springboard add-in modules.

However, once source reckons Edge will sport a compact 'Springboard 2.0' slot, designed to take new add-in modules or the Springboard adaptor.

Given Palm's decision to support the compact Secure Digital (SD) add-in card format and fellow PalmOS licensee Sony's use of MemoryStick for extra memory and plug-in peripherals, it's not surprising that Handspring might modify its Springboard spec. to add a second, smaller interface.

Springboard was designed with larger form factors in mind, and has won support from peripheral vendors. The snag is, no other PalmOS licensee has agreed to support it too, leaving Springboard peripherals unusable by the vast majority of users of PalmOS devices.

In fact, we can imagine Handspring opting to support SD while retaining support for Springboard through its low-end Visors and the Edge's adaptor. There's no evidence for this, other than the company's decision to go with some kind of compact slot, and it has to be said that SD doesn't any more backing than Springboard does.

But with the Palm m500 and m505 set to include SD slots - as, ultimately, will other Palm devices - it makes sense for Handspring to follow the market leader. In such circumstances it would be unlikely to abandon Springboard, retaining it for its low-end PDAs and supporting it via adaptors in the high-end models.

We'll find out on Monday, we guess. ®

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