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"3COM Palm's Receive Serious Challenge"
  09/30/1999

The Palm organizer has some serious competition, and it comes from the same people who designed the original Palm. The most exciting feature of the new Handspring Visor, a $250 Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), is a special slot for plug-and-play hardware and software upgrades.

The internals of the Visor Deluxe bear a striking resemblance to Palm organizers. The Visor Deluxe is based on the same processor and operating system as the current Palm devices; a 16-MHz Motorola Dragonball EZ processor running the Palm OS 3.1. Like Palm units, the Visor unit includes an infrared port for beaming information to and from other Palm OS organizers; the same, improved reverse-backlit LCD touch screen used on the latest Palm models and a docking station. The Visor has a USB connector instead of a serial connector that is used on the Palm devices. In addition, the Visor also comes with a microphone but has no speakers or headphone jack.

The most obvious difference between the devices is the expansion slot on the back of the Visor. Called the Springboard, this plug-and-play slot lets you quickly add extras such as pagers, modems, MP3 players and Internet access programs to name just a few. To vault Springboard into the mainstream market, Handspring plans to license Springboard technology to other computer manufacturers and encourage third-party development of expansion modules.

Throw in the unit's built-in applications, compatibility with the wide array of Palm applications already out there, and additional color options and you have a PDA that is poised to give Palm organizers a run for their money.

This isn't the only additional competition for 3Com. Nintendo has recently announced plans for a new Game Boy system, the Game Boy Advance, that will let users send and receive e-mail, play networked games, and chat in real-time. Pricing is not yet available on this unit which is slated to ship next year.

  - by Clayton Crooks

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  comp.sys.palmtops.pilot
  alt.comp.hardware
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