Handspring Gets FCC Approval for Two Wireless Handhelds
Handspring has received approval from the Federal Communications Commission for not one but two new wireless handhelds. Unlike the just revealed Palm i705, these can handle both data and voice.
One model, the Treo k180, has a built-in keyboard like the Blackberry pager. In fact, it is the first PalmOS device ever to not have a Graffiti area at all. The other model, the Treo g180, relies on the traditional Graffiti for text input..
Both allow Web surfing via Handspring's Blazer. They also come with an SMS application.
Possibly the most shocking part of the Treo series is that neither model has a Springboard slot. This is a huge departure for Handspring, as the Springboard expansion slot has always been what they used to differentiate themselves from other PalmOS handhelds.
In another big change, these are also the first Handspring models to have a jog wheel, which the company calls a Jog Rocker.
They have 160 by 160 monochrome screens and have a vibrating ringer, which doesn't appear to be able to also be used as with alarms.
They use li-ion rechargeable batteries. The batteries are good for two hours of talk time and 72 hours on standby. The manual says the batteries can be fully charged in only an hour. Their Power Adapter can be plugged directly into the handheld.
The four buttons across the front are now Phone, DateBook Plus, Blazer, and SMS.
On the top is the power button, an infrared port, the antenna, a switch to turn the ringer off, and a single LED used to indicate both battery status and whether the device is in range of a transmitter.
In yet another example of how Handspring has thrown out the rule book, holding down the Power button now turns the radio on or off. The Power button must be hit twice to control the backlight.
In a move that many may not like, neither model comes with a cradle. Instead, they use a HotSync cable that the Power Adapter plugs into. They support USB though a serial version of the cable will be available.
Handspring had added an application to let the Treo models be used as mobile phones. This app is launched with the Phone button, which replaces the Address Book button on the front of the unit. It offers speed dialing as well as a traditional on-screen keypad.
If the phone is ringing, just opening the cover will answer the call. In fact, just opening the cover will turn on the handheld at any time and closing it back will turn it off.
The cover acts as the earpiece when using these as a mobile phone. There is also a headphone jack. The large window in the cover allows the phone to be used with the lid closed by using the jog wheel to pick a number from the speed dial list .
The user manual for the Treo k180 that is part of Handspring's FCC filing is very light on information about wireless e-mail, hardly even mentioning e-mail at all. However, at this time these devices appear to lack the "always on" e-mail capability of the not yet released Palm i705.
Handspring has not yet said when these will be available and hasn't even officially admitted these exist. Donna Dubinsky Handspring's CEO, has said that her company is working on handhelds with built-in wireless capabilities that they will release before the end of the year. There is no word on prices, either.
Other details that will probably have to wait for the official unveiling include whether thse devices will be able to share any peripherals with other Handspring models, like styli and cradles. Obviously, cases are out.
Before anyone makes any conclusions about the looks or specifications for these devices, keep in mind this is based on very preliminary information from the FCC documents. -Ryan
We have recieved a request from Handspring to remove some of the details and photos that originally appeared in this article. Handspring also asked the FCC to remove the info that they mistakenly made public and they complied. Handspring described the info obtained from the FCC filing "very preliminary and also very competitively sensitive". They convinced us that toning down this article a bit was the best thing to do and therefore some info that was previously available has been removed. Just so we're clear, there were no threats; they just asked nicely.
Thanks to Tipton and ollopiz for the tip, and to everyone who has helped comb through the FCC filing for details. -Ed
Article Comments(88 comments)
This article is no longer accepting new comments.
Click here for the full story discussion page...