Handspring Pulling Out of Japan?
Handspring seems to be moving out of the Japanese market. It closed its online store there at the end of 2001. It has never offered the Visor Neo or the Pro in Japan and the models that are available are at firesale prices. For example, the Edge and Prism are selling for 19,800 yen, which is about $150, down from 49,000 yen, or $370, their prices just a few months ago.
One factor that has hurt all the Palm OS licensees except Sony is that it is hard to read the Japanese Kanji characters in 160 by 160 resolution. This is also why Palm never released the m125 in Japan and there is no Japanese equivalent of Sony's S360.
Handspring's new Treo faces an additional hurdle: there is no GSM service in Japan. With its combination of a 160 by 160 screen and an incompatible wireless network, it doesn't seem likely the Treo will be released in Japan at all. The company would have to make a special version just for the Japanese market, where it would face stiff competition.
As Handspring has made clear that it sees its future centered around the Treo, it may be giving up Japan to Sony until it has a model better suited for the market.
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