---------- ---------- PC Pro Realworld Computing: Paul Lynch - PDAs

Handspring Visor

Over a year ago, the founders of Palm, Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky, left 3com to set up their own company to sell consumer oriented products based around the PalmOS. The result is a single product with two models, the Visor and Visor Deluxe, for $149 and $249 respectively. Both models run standard PalmOS, and can run normal third party programs for Palm, but some of the standard applications have been modified (Date Book, Calculator and World Clock). The basic Visor Solo model has 2 Mb RAM, and comes in graphite only. The Visor Deluxe has 8 Mb, a crable, a leather slipcase, and comes in five colours - graphite, ice, blue, green and orange. Basic connectivity is via USB, but there should be an alternative serial connection available. USB should be four times faster than serial. Both Window 98 and Mac connectivity software is available as standard; but Windows 95 and NT users will require the serial option. So far, this is just a cheap Palm variant, and not particularly interesting. What makes the Visor different is the hardware expansion slot, called Springboard. Modules announced by Handspring include the usual mix of memory addons, software packs and a modem. However, the most interesting Springboard module comes from a third party, Widecomm. They have announced a Bluetooth module, which will be used for faster sync'ing and Internet access. Bluetooth is a local area wireless technology that should liven up the PDA market considerably over the next couple of years, by enabling diverse devices to communicate like they already do over infra-red - except much faster, and more reliably without line of sight problems.


Words and design by:
Paul Lynch
Last updated: March 30, 1999

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