Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Tuesday 28/05/2002Off to town for the launch of Handspring's new Treo 270. We covered its imminent arrival a week or so back when pictures became available through slightly unorthodox channels, and we'll do a review when we get our hands on one, so the launch itself is more a chance to talk to Team Treo than concentrate on the product.

Tuesday 28/05/2002

Off to town for the launch of Handspring's new Treo 270. We covered its imminent arrival a week or so back when pictures became available through slightly unorthodox channels, and we'll do a review when we get our hands on one, so the launch itself is more a chance to talk to Team Treo than concentrate on the product.

It was fun to see the goods, mind. The 270 is a nice colour PDA with GSM, and some thoughtful software combining both worlds. How well that works, and whether the gamble of dropping Graffiti for a tiny keyboard pays off is something that'll wait for the review: but the company itself is taking some longer-term risks. Also on show, but not launched, is the Treo 90. That's a smaller lighter 270 without the phone bits, and with SD/MMC expansion cards instead of the old proprietary system. It's just a PDA, like the older Visor Prism, but it's nicer than a Prism and costs exactly the same. Until now, Handspring has had the Treo name for the Communicators and Visor for the PDAs. Now it's blurring the brands. Is this the beginning of the end for Visor? Perhaps. Will there be another new Visor? Perhaps not. Will they still be selling Visors in two years' time? Probably. The company is charmingly open about the quite intense internal discussions it's had on the subject, and that it knows there's conflict ahead.

It shouldn't worry too much. The products look great. How great -- well, watch this space. The anorak in me is flexing its thumbs in anticipation, and it's not a pleasant sight...