Visor Edge: Release Day
The new Handspring site is up and is filled with info and pictures on the Visor Edge. Unfortunately, it is currently swamped with visitors and is moving very slowly. The U.K site is actually running faster.
The introductory webcast by Handspring co-founders Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky gave many details about the new device. There were no big surprises. Just about all the facts that were leaked in the last few days were borne out.
During the webcast, Mr. Hawkins said many times that this was the thinnest Palm handheld available. He confirmed that it will come in three colors (red, blue and silver) but that the red version will be available only from Handspring.com. The case and cover are made of anodized aluminum. The back of the case doesn't have the usual bar codes and product numbers; it is smooth and clean looking.
The metal stylus is held to the side by a latch. The cover can be tilted all the way around about 270 degrees, though it will hold itself open about 110 degrees, too. It is removable.
Mr. Hawkins demonstrated the detachable Springboard slot, of course, which he promised was 100% Springboard compatible. He showed it running the VisorPhone to surf the Web. He took the cover off during this and it wasn't clear whether he was just doing this to make it easier to demo or if the VisorPhone's antenna was too big to allow the cover to still be attached.
When many people heard that the Springboard slot was removable, it immediately occurred to them that accessories could be made that would clip onto the back of the Edge and connect directly using the same port the Springboard slot does. Mr. Hawkins made it clear that several companies are already developing peripherals to do this and that Handspring was supporting them in the development process. He even showed off a non-working mock-up of a CDPD modem that is in development, though he didn't say by whom. This is probably the basis for the rumors of a Springboard replacement.
The device runs the fastest Palm Processor available, the 33MHz DragonBall VZ with 8 MB or RAM. Mr. Hawkins also claimed that the screen had been improved and was sharper than any other monochrome screen available. It supports 16 shades of gray (4-bit grayscale).
It is powered by a lithium ion battery which Handspring says should last four weeks with normal use between charges. Handspring also says its cradle can charge it to full power in just a few minutes. Sadly, the report that the Edge came with a travel charger seems to have been mistaken.
He didn't just talk about hardware, he spent some time on the new software features of the Edge. He claimed that its OS was equivalent to Palm OS 4.0 because it already had many of the features of that forthcoming OS, including USB support.
He also demonstrated the Address Book's new one finger lookup feature. When this is enabled, names can be looked up by using the hard keys to specify if each letter in the name is in the first or second half of the alphabet. For example, to look up the name "Don", you would press the up arrow key to invoke the look-up function, then press the To-Do key to say that the first letter is in the first half of the alphabet, then press the Memo key to say the second letter was in the second half, then press the Memo key again to say the third letter was in the second half of the alphabet. Theoretically, this should give you a list of all the people whose name is "Don".
The Edge should be available in stores within two weeks. It is available now from Handspring's U.S. and U.K. websites. It is priced at 458 euros without VAT.
Before the introduction of the Edge, Mr. Hawkins mentioned that they are releasing the Visor Platinum in a new colored case, graphite. The color for the other version is now referred to as "Metallic silver".
The webcast is now over and is no longer available. An archived copy of this will be available later.
Amazon also mentions some new facts on the Edge. While the cradle is USB, there will be a serial version for sale separately. Under the devices' new features, they list, "wireless synchronization, address duplication, improved security, and enhanced navigation".
Staples, who accidentally confirmed rumors that the the Edge was coming by listing a group of accessories for the device last week, is being extra careful and doesn't yet say a word about it.
Handspring also introduced today a line of Visor Edge accessories including a metal hard case and quite a few leather cases. Handspring will also sell optional serial and USB charging cradles for the Visor Edge, a travel charger and a USB HotSync cable. Lastly, Handspring will offer replacement flip covers in all three Visor Edge colors and a replacement detachable Springboard slot.
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- I got one -Tuckermaclain
- RE: Don't we have this already? -Tuckermaclain
- RE: Palm brand will return in 2018, with devices built by TCL -richf
- RE: Palm brand will return in 2018, with devices built by TCL -dmitrygr
- Palm phone on HDblog -palmato
- Palm PVG100 -hgoldner
- RE: Like Deja Vu -PacManFoo
- Like Deja Vu -T_W