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Handspring loses $32.7m

Better than last quarter, but short-term future doesn't look good

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Handspring is having a tough time of it. The PDA maker has just posted revenues of $61.4 million for the three months to 29 September - its first quarter of its 2002 fiscal year.

That's down 13 per cent on the same period last year and less than one percentage point up on the previous quarter (which is still better than last quarter's 50 per cent dip).

The company's net income came in at $26.2 million (22 cents a share) before one-off charges, $32.7 million when they're included. The latter figure amounts to 28 cents a share, right at the bottom of the 16-29 cents a share range Wall Street analysts were predicting last week.

Handspring CEO Donna Dubinsky described the current business environment as "challenging". That isn't going to change any time soon. "Though the December quarter is typically a strong quarter for this industry, current economic, political and market issues demand we be conservative in our expectations," warned the company. It expects to make a loss of around 15 cents a share on the back of slightly increased revenues.

Handspring is pinning its hopes on its new line of Treo smartphones, which the company announced earlier this week and expects to ship early next year. Good luck, we say. Having developed the devices, Handspring has no choice but to follow through and launch them, but with demand for cellphones falling off so rapidly this year, it may be some time before the market picks up and Handspring can profit from its new machines. ®

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