Comments on: VisorPhone Drops to $50

Handspring has droped the price of the VisorPhone to just $50 with a service activation. That's $200 off the previous price. This isn't a short-term discount; this is the new price for this wireless modem and phone Springboard. It will cost $300 without service activation. "It's a great product that wasn't selling at the levels we'd hoped," a company representative told Cnet.
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If they only...

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/16/2001 7:41:33 AM #
This product would also have sold better if they allowed us to buy it to use with an already active account. I've been wanting to do this for a while, but I already had an account and the price was prohibitive.

So what about it Handspring...

RE: If they only...
Trevethan @ 7/16/2001 8:18:47 AM #

You can use the Virsor phone with an existing GSM account... that is joy of GSM. However you will have to sign up for a service plan.. which is great if your existing plan is about to expire.. And even if it isn't, the subsidized price, ($30 * 12) + $50 = $410.. still $90 less than the price for the device without a plan.

My wish is for them to pull their finger out and start reducing the price here in Europe. The Handspring website sells it for 329 without any plan... which I guess represents fair value as the prsim itself sells for 399


Nick Trevethan


RE: If they only...
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/16/2001 11:54:40 AM #
Yeah, the problem was, that I already had GSM service through VoiceStream - so, to get the phone without activation, it previously would have cost $500 (approximately) to get the Visorphone without a service activation.

I was lucky, and found one used.

But this is DEFINITELY an amazing module, and well worth the price. Depending on how much it is without an activation, it might be worth it for current GSM subscribers to look into..

Visor Phone rocks!

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/16/2001 8:46:18 AM #
A friend of mine has one of these. He send SMS messages all the time. I even took my SIM card out of my Nokia and used it in the Visor Phone to make calls on my own account. It's great. But, I have a Palm Vx and OmniSky, so I'll stick with my Nokia 8290 till GPRS becomes available...

RE: Visor Phone rocks!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/16/2001 11:08:51 AM #
Well GPRS is already out. (at least in Germany it is) I've been using it with my Palm and Motorola Timeport 260 for a while here on the D1 network. Orginally it was said that it wasn't going to work on the Palm, so I was stuck using 9800 bps, but then someone found out how to use the GPRS. Instructions can be found here: (in German)

It works really good, although the prices are a little high.

RE: Visor Phone rocks!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2001 3:36:43 AM #
Well if you have a Palm Vx instead, you can look into Ohfish. Check out this website :

VisorPhone review?

palmcoder @ 7/16/2001 12:09:51 PM #

Is there a review of the VisorPhone here on PalmInfoCenter? I did a quick search and didn't come up with anything...

Specifically, I'd like to see a comparison of the Kyocera smart phone and the VisorPhone module.

RE: VisorPhone review?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/16/2001 6:07:45 PM #
Pen Computing did a thorough review of the Visor Phone module, which is online at:

They also reviewed Kyocera's SmartPhone at:

Given the new module price, if you're already hooked on a Visor the module seems the way to
go now. But I've read mostly very good reviews for the SmartPhone.

RE: VisorPhone review?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/16/2001 6:23:48 PM #
I should add, though the Kyocera costs a heckuva lot more now ($500 though it may have dropped recently),
it can be used with existing Spring PCS and Verizon service accounts so you're not locked into
using GSM service like with the Visor module.

GSM Frequency?

Atul Chitnis @ 7/16/2001 12:55:51 PM #
It was my understanding that the visor phone unit only works with American GSM frequencies (1800?) Has this changed? I live in India, where we use the European (900 Mhz?) GSM standard.

I am reaching a point where my Vx could do with a colour replacement. I have basically been waitinq for PDA & phone convergence. If the Prism+phone is usable *now* (in India & Germany), I'd take the plunge now, else I'll pick up an m505 and wait for something to come along to phone with.

RE: GSM Frequency?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/16/2001 12:59:59 PM #
yes i have a visor here in ISRAEL AND I HAVE ON VISOR PHONE 900 MHZ 1900MHZ GSM

RE: GSM Frequency?
Ed @ 7/16/2001 2:18:10 PM #
VisorPhone is a GSM world phone. It works at either 900 or 1900 MHz.

News Editor
Palm Infocenter
RE: GSM Frequency?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2001 3:39:25 AM #
How can you consider 900/1900 a world phone. Most of the area in Asia operates on the 1800 bandwidth.

CDMA visorphone coming

sgechter @ 7/16/2001 5:05:53 PM #
Did Handspring finally get that they were charging to much for the visorphone, or could the price drop be a signal that the Airprime SB3000 CDMA visorphone
will be coming out real soon. Has anyone heard anything about a release date for the Airprime?

RE: to ED
Ed @ 7/16/2001 9:10:17 PM #
Was it one of those "Wohoo! I posted first!" messages? Those are a waste of everyone's time.

News Editor
Palm Infocenter

GSM, CDMA, GPRS, TDMA, etc ...

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/16/2001 6:14:08 PM #
Could someone please direct me to a quick discussion of the relative advantages and disadvantages of the different types of wireless access (GSM, CDMA, GPRS, TDMA), especially for web browsing and especially in the North American market?

Thanks for your patience with us geek wannabes!!!


RE: GSM, CDMA, GPRS, TDMA, etc ...
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/16/2001 6:30:59 PM #
Ricochet currently seems to have the fastest access times (128 Kbps), but their coverage is quite limited for the time being.

RE: Ricochet
Ninja @ 7/16/2001 10:37:30 PM #
Trouble could be ahead for Ricochet since their parent company has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Metricom files for bankruptcy protection

Metricom leaves $1 billion debt trail

RE: GSM, CDMA, GPRS, TDMA, etc ...
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2001 4:14:58 PM #
GSM (Global System for Mobile) -- The name of the standard originated from Europe. It is only the name of that pan-European cellular phone standard, not a technology term.

TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) -- A tech term regarding how many users can share the limited physical resources (such like the frequency..). Each user is assigned a fixed time slot in order to share the medium and gain the access to the service. Each user has to transmit and receive in that particular time window assigned to him and there will be some time period wasted at the beginning and the end of thet window. It is more difficult to gain higher speed with this type of access scheme compared to CDMA. Many cellular standards adopt this type of access method including GSM and US own TDMA standard (called AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone Service which is an analog system). And later on there is a digital system called IS-54).

CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) -- A tech term regarding how many users can share the limited physical resources (such like the frequency..). Each user is assigned a special code to share the medium and gain access to the service. Everybody can transmit and receive at the same time, they can be seperated by the special code assigned to them. Therefore there is no the wasted time period as TDMA. However, there are some tech problems with this type of access method. The product is more expensive to make but higher speed is more possible at the cost of shorter battery life & more expensive. Qualcomm CDMA (IS-95) and the 3G are using CDMA.

GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) -- The data service enhancement of GSM. GPRS is the name not a tech term either. GSM is mainly for voice, and 3G is mainly for data, and there is a transition from GSM to 3G, GPRS (and later on a faster EDGE) will be the data service enhancement based on GSM to fill in the gap before 3G can be actually accepted. The good thing is that since it is based on the existing GSM, the cost is a lot less than the brand new 3G. Since GPRS and EDGE are basically GSM based, they are also TDMA.

3G (Third Generation Mobile Network) -- The next generation cellular network targeting at data service ith a much higher trnasfer speed. 3G is using CDMA as the medium sharing method (so each user can transmit and receive at the same time but still can be seperated by the special code assigned to each user).

IEEE 802.11b (or Wi-Fi) -- The name of the standard for wireless local area network (WLAN). It is mainly for sophisticated networking and can be a complement to the wired eithernet found in many office and now home. It is much higher speed, the range is longer and the performance is better but more expensive.

Bluetooth -- The name for a short range wireless connectivity mainly used for cable replacement. The speed is slow and the range is shorter and the performance is not as good as Wireless LAN but it is supposed to be much cheaper.

CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data) -- The name of the data service in US-TDMA (AMPS). Many wireless service providers are using this to provide wireless DATA such like Omnisky (if I am correct). The Ricochet network is their own proprietary system.

GPS (Global Positioning System) -- The name of a positioning system using the signals transmitted by many sattelites (at least three) to calculate the position and altitude.

PCS (Personal Communication Service) -- The name of a wireless service to provide a ubiquitous access.



Joel Forman @ 7/16/2001 6:41:36 PM #
OK - Now it's worth it!

A Question

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2001 12:29:23 AM #
Is Sprint's PCS Network GSM or CDMA or TDMA or Proprietary?

RE: A Question
Sarah @ 7/17/2001 3:43:12 AM #
Sorry, Sprint is PCS it does not work with a SIM card. There are way too many different systems in the US and that is really inconvenient for those who travels a lot. The only 2 GSM operators that I know of are Cingular and Voicestream

RE: A Question
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2001 10:31:37 PM #
To actually answer the question, though, Sprint PCS is CDMA.


I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2001 12:48:22 AM #
Ok Folks. I've been using the VisorPhone for over 5 months now. I bring my VisorPrism/VisorPhone everywhere. When I need access to the Internet, I use Blazer. E-mail, I use MultiMailPro.

The quality of the Audio is decent. Compared to some of my previous phones, the reception is as good as or better than previous Nokia/Motorola phones I've had.

I live in Alabama (in the sticks) and I have a full signal strength most all the time. I've taken it with my on Trips to Italy, Sweden and Finland. Works great in Europe! As Ed stated, it's a World Phone.

I paid the $300 for the phone way back when. I don't regret paying that much for it, I've gotten my usage out of it already. At only $50, it should be a sure thing for many of you who travel and want to lighten your load. Yes, the Prism/Visor Phone is a little bulky but it's still less weight than a Prism and a separate Phone. I recommend Handspring's VisorPhone belt clip if you get one. I tried EB's version, but stopped using it when a friend of mine told me it looked like I was talking into my Shoe (Maxwell Smart).

This is a great device that offers tons of possibilities. There is no other solution that allows you to use your VisorPrism anywhere in the world, access the net and call home from a single device. I would NEVER go back.

Just my .02 worth for those contemplating a VisorPhone. I don't work for Hanspring, but wish I did. :)

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2001 8:19:59 AM #
Thanks for your comments. Sounds like you do a lot of traveling in Europe--Have you experienced as good coverage traveling around in the US (outside of Alabama)?

The CDMA Visor phone that should be out soon might be expected to have better coverage in the US.

Does anyone know about comparative internet access speeds for GSM & CDMA??


Geo @ 7/17/2001 7:58:30 PM #
>> I recommend Handspring's VisorPhone belt clip if you get one.

Great, I'd been meaning to ask someone whether you could still use the clip (which I always use) when the Visorphone module's plugged in.

Now, if Dockers can just get their mobile pants out nationally, I'll be all set. :)

visorphone price

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2001 9:00:35 AM #
I have one. It's a great product. To be honest?

They screwed me on the price. $50 + Service?

I paid top dollar for this device. I am thinking class action suit.

RE: visorphone price
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2001 9:31:57 AM #
Hope you're joking. Otherwise, we'll all pay a higher price for the cost of defending against such suits.

RE: Get Real
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2001 12:13:00 PM #
That's a *great* idea. I'm going to sue IBM for charging me over $2000 for a 486 PC in the late 80s when I can get an equivalent machine for $20 at a garage sale. I've obviously been ripped off!!

It is the nature of electronics to drop in price. Get used to it.

RE: visorphone price
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2001 4:02:57 PM #
I paid over 4K to Compaq for an SLT-286. I think it's a conspiracy!

RE: visorphone price
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2001 9:49:44 PM #
Im not joking...

This is bad business.. we all lose when they devalue their own products.

RE: visorphone price
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2001 10:34:18 PM #
Better start buying up Palm M505's so when they drop, I can sue!

Maybe we need fewer lawyer jokes, and more jokes about the idiots who always think they have a decent arguement.

Cellular companies have been selling and losing money on cell phones for a long time now, they take the hit on the phone so they can make the money back on the service. By selling the Visorphone for cheap, more will sell, meaning Voicestream\Cingular will get more activiations, and I'm sure Handspring gets some money back for that activation.

RE: visorphone price
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2001 11:13:01 PM #
well ok, how about a class action suit against idiots like these who are clogging up the courts!

RE: visorphone price
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2001 11:23:05 PM #
oops .. then i'd be suing myself, wouldn't i?

sort of a recursive suit?

Similar for a Palm Vx

Mark Sherry @ 7/18/2001 1:07:17 AM #
This Visor Phone thing sounds cool but is there a similar deuice available for a Palm Vx .Just curious.
RE: Similar for a Palm Vx
Ed @ 7/18/2001 8:50:01 AM #
Take a look at the Ohfish GSM Modem/Phone:

There is a tri-band version coming soon and one for the m500 series.

News Editor
Palm Infocenter

Great for Palms too!

Lim MS @ 7/18/2001 8:16:09 AM #
The great thing about this drop in price is that all the other phone accessories for Palm will have to drop in price as well in order not to look stupidly priced.

Meanwhile in the UK...

Bridge Deady @ 7/22/2001 5:39:35 AM #
Oh well... in the UK the VisorPhone retails around 329ish, much higher than the US and with no massive discount if u get an airtime contract at the same time.

I checked with Handsprng and they seem to think that this difference is acceptable!!

So we have the US with an apr $50 gadget +airtime compared to lucky us in the UK that have to spend 329 +airtime for the same thing... there's something wrong here:(


I.M. Anonymous @ 8/23/2001 7:50:41 AM #
Hi all

can someone tell me if I bought an visorphone unit only from the states (cheaper compared to buying it here in the UK) and use my UK SIM card from my vodaphone subscription, will it actually work ?

many thanks




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