Handspring has announced it will sell Handspring Visors through resellers, ending the product’s Web-only availability.
US customers can now buy Handspring Visors from CompUSA, Best Buy, and Staples.
On Monday, Handspring announced its plunge into the reseller market five months after its Visor handheld computers first became available from its Web site. Prospective buyers of Visors and select Springboard modules can now look, touch, and test out the gadgets before committing to purchase the Palm OS-based personal digital assistants.
Best Buy, CompUSA, and Staples will offer both the Visor and the Visor Deluxe. The $179 Visor comes with 2MB of memory and a USB HotSync cradle. The Visor Deluxe is priced at $249 and has 8MB of memory, a USB cradle, and a choice of five colours - graphite, ice, blue, green, and orange.
Retail outlets will also carry a small selection of Handspring's Springboard modules - expansion cartridges for hardware and software. The first ones to be available will carry prices similar to those on Handspring's Web site. They include the Tiger Woods PGA Golf Tour game listed at $29.95, the Backup Module listed at $39.95, the 8MB Flash Module priced at $79.95, and the Handspring Modem for $129.95.
Show me the modules Select third-party modules will also be available through the three retailers, Handspring officials said. But of the many third-party modules expected in 1999, only the Intelligolf module is currently shipping.
"We were overly exuberant about the modules," says Allen Bush, a spokesperson for Handspring. "It generally takes 12 to 18 months to roll out new hardware."
Modules scheduled to be available this quarter are a GPS radio module with one-way paging, a Covey Reference Library, a Physician's Desk Reference, a Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, electronic book modules from Peanut Press, a voice recorder, and a digital recorder with playback. Portable keyboard add-ons from Targus and Landware are also expected in March.
A broader selection of modules are due this Summer, including Innogear's MP3 player, an 802.11 wireless LAN, IDEO's digital camera, and the InfoMitt one-way pager. Handspring won't say which of the new modules will be offered in retail outlets, but all will be available from Handspring.com.
"The third-party modules are going to be sold [initially] through us on our Web site," said Lee Epting, director of partner programs and business development at Handspring. After the Handspring partners build up volume, the modules will hit the stores, he added.
Handspring is also planning new and different devices, even gadgets other than PDAs.
Handspring has said it’s looking to develop colour PDAs in the future, although the company has not set a date.