While many mobile phones are trying to incorporate PDA like features, often the products fall short for one major reason; entering text in a mobile phone is difficult. Technologies like the T9 text service have helped, but that is the largest barrier facing mobile phones today. By way of comparison, the Palm operating system gives users all the PDA functionality they could ever want, and now with voice capabilities. According to Handspring:
Handspring today will begin selling its VisorPhone Springboard expansion module,combining the power of voice communications with the simplicity andversatility of the Visor handheld computer. VisorPhone is available now atHandspring.com with competitive service plans available in select regionsfrom Cingular Wireless, a leading GSM (Global Systems for MobileCommunications) carrier in the United States.
For customers with access to Cingular Wireless services, VisorPhone can bepurchased for U.S. $299, with the simultaneous service plan activation(Visor handhelds are sold separately). Handspring expects to sell VisorPhonethrough physical distribution channels in the U.S. in the first half of2001.
VisorPhone is a compact mobile phone module that extends slightly above andbeyond the top and back of Visor itself. VisorPhone contains a battery,speaker, antenna, and three buttons: one to power VisorPhone on and off andtwo that allow a user to switch between voice and text messaging functions.
As with all Springboard modules, all software needed to use VisorPhone isincluded in the module itself. Springboard modules are self-installing andself-de-installing and can run in place so there is no need to transfersoftware between Visor and the module. The process is automatic and fast. Touse VisorPhone, a person simply inserts the module into the Springboardslot. When powered on, VisorPhone will automatically register to the GSMnetwork. When the module is removed, software is automatically deinstalled,leaving Visor in a clean state. The Visor need not be turned on or off, orapplications closed, to insert or remove VisorPhone.
VISORPHONE SERVICE PLANS
VisorPhone operates on the GSM standard, the most widely used digital phonestandard in the world, and is designed to function exclusively with theSpringboard expansion slot. The GSM standard allows users to receivewireless coverage in over 4,600 cities and towns throughout North America.Handspring is selling service plans from Cingular Wireless initially with anexpanded rollout expected in early 2001. This regional rollout will makeVisorPhone first available to PacBell customers in California and Nevada onthe West coast and to BellSouth Mobility customers in North Carolina, SouthCarolina, Eastern Tennessee and Coastal Georgia on the East coast. Aone-stop shopping purchase and activation process is now availableexclusively at Handspring.com allowing customers to easily choose theservice plan that best fits their specific needs.
The service providers, not Handspring, determined pricing plans based oncurrent competitive offerings. For a full list of pricing plans and options,simply type in your zip code at the following URL:http://www.handspring.com/products/visorphone and click on the "Buy it!"button to see what service is available in your area. Pricing is in linewith plans offered for mobile phones today. Additional carrier informationand activation details are provided at Handspring.com. Customers canpurchase the VisorPhone without a service plan for U.S. $499 fromHandspring.com.
You can find more information at the Handspring web site.