Picture this: Handspring's Visor Edge revealed

Handheld computer maker hopes to fatten up by slimming down

Handspring on Monday released its fifth major product since the company's inception 18 months ago. As previously reported, the latest addition is the Visor Edge (see picture), which is Handspring's extra-thin handheld designed to compete with Palm's V series. The Vs are Palm's best-selling units. Handspring's announcement is similar to adding a sports car to a line of sedans. The new unit is 0.44 inches thick, 3.1 inches wide and 4.7 inches tall. Chief product officer Jeff Hawkins dubbed the Visor Edge the "thinnest in the industry". However, the Palm Vx comes in at 0.4 inches, according to Palm's Web site. The 4.8-ounce Edge comes with a 33MHz Motorola DragonBall VZ processor and 8MB of memory. The metal case comes in silver, blue or red and includes a flip-up metal cover. The unit is available on Handspring's Web site for $399 (£274). An international English version of Visor Edge will be available in Europe in March 2001 and the Japanese and German versions will be available in April 2001. French, Spanish and Italian versions will be available in mid to late 2001. Visor Edge features a black-and-white display. That's in contrast to Palm's upcoming m505, a Palm Vx successor that will have a colour screen. Handspring's new handheld excludes the company's Springboard expansion slot for add-on modules. A number of analysts and industry watchers have speculated that Handspring needed to remove the slot in order to create a thinner device. In the slot's place is the Edge Connector, an alternate slot that accepts a Springboard adapter, which acts as the previous expansion slot. "We're not replacing Springboard [with the new slot], but we will support those [developers] who want to make modules that connect directly to the Visor Edge," Hawkins said at a press conference at the company's headquarters. "We anticipate that Springboard will be around for a very long time." Chris LeTocq, an analyst with Gartner, said Handspring's next step is address the corporate market with software, which is something Palm has already begun to do. See what the Visor Edge looks like. COMMENT
The power of colour
Just when you thought there was no escape from buying a colour pocket computer, the Handspring Visor Edge came along -- keeping Guy Kewney faithful to monochrome screens for a bit longer. But how much longer? Take me to the Mobile Technology Special Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Click on the TalkBack button and go to the ZDNet News forum. Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom. And read what others have said.