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Can Handspring Bounce Back?

Boot Camp feature for Tuesday, June 4, 2002

Can Handspring bounce back? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It's the company launched by the original inventors of the Palm... but Handspring has been losing market share ground to rivals this year despite the introduction of the Treo. The first model combined the functions of a Palm into a small cell phone. Now Handspring is out with two new versions... .the Treo 270 with a color display. And the Treo 90... .which is similar... up to a point. Product manager Calin Pacurariu...

"It does have a built in keyboard. It has a color screen just like the Treo 270 and the main difference between the products is this is an organizer, it does not have a built in radio, so it meant to be used stand alone."

The move is a little surprising since Handspring had said its future focus would be on wirelessly connected devices. So why backtrack?

"I think that's actually a fair question. We've been very clear about our long term direction. Over time, we think that most of the growth and innovation around these types of products is clearly going to be with built in cellular radios. So the Communicator part of our product line is the core focus going forward. That's not to say that we don't feel that there's obviously a need and a market for stand alone organizers as well."

In fact, the Visor product line still makes up the bulk of Handspring's business...

"But we expect that to change pretty quickly, especially as we go into the tail end of this year."

Time will tell how much spring is left in Handspring. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.