Handspring Visors Go Retail

SAN FRANCISCO (03/27/2000) - You no longer have to order your Handspring Inc.

Visor from the Web. Handspring Visors have shipped to CompUSA, Best Buy, and Staples.

On Monday, Handspring announced its plunge into the reseller market, which takes place five months after its Visor handheld computers first became available from its Web site. Prospective buyers of Visors and select Springboard modules can now look, touch, and test out the gadgets before committing to purchase the Palm OS-based personal digital assistants.

Best Buy, CompUSA, and Staples will offer both the Visor and the Visor Deluxe.

The $179 Visor comes with 2MB of memory and a USB HotSync cradle. The Visor Deluxe is priced at $249 and has 8MB of memory, a USB cradle, and a choice of five colors: graphite, ice, blue, green, and orange.

Retail outlets will also carry out a small selection of Handspring's Springboard modules--expansion slots for hardware and software. The first ones to be available will carry prices similar to those on Handspring's Web site.

They include the Tiger Woods PGA Golf Tour game listed at $29.95, the Backup Module listed at $39.95, the 8MB Flash Module priced at $79.95, and the Handspring Modem for $129.95.

Where Are the Modules?

Select third-party modules will also be available through the three retailers, Handspring officials say. But of the many third-party modules expected in 1999, only the Intelligolf module is currently shipping.

"We were overly exuberant about the modules," says Allen Bush, a spokesperson for Handspring. "It generally takes 12 to 18 months to roll out new hardware."

Modules scheduled to be available this quarter are a GPS radio module with one-way paging, a Covey Reference Library, a Physician's Desk Reference, a Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, electronic book modules from Peanut Press, a voice recorder, and a digital recorder with playback. Portable keyboard add-ons from Targus and Landware are also expected in March.

And due out this summer is a broader selection of modules, including Innogear's MP3 player, an 802.11 wireless LAN, IDEO's digital camera, and the InfoMitt one-way pager. Handspring won't say which of the new modules will be offered in retail outlets, but all will be available from Handspring.com.

"The third-party modules are going to be sold [initially] through us on our Web site," says Lee Epting, director of partner programs and business development at Handspring. After the Handspring partners build up volume, the modules will hit the stores, he adds.

Handspring is also planning new and different devices, even gadgets other than PDAs.

And the company is still fine-tuning its flagship product, of course.

Handspring remains coy about its plans to bring color to the Visor screen (although the cases come in many hues). Bush says Handspring is working on everything you might guess.

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