VisorPhone Now Available

The VisorPhone is finally available, just time time to be too late for Christmas delivery. It is on sale now on the Handspring site for $300 when you sign up for a service plan.

In case you've missed all the hype, the VisorPhone is a Springboard module GSM cell phone. It offers conference calling, caller ID, programming, and using speed-dial numbers, detailed call history, and standard dialing functions. It can also be used for SMS (short message service) text messaging; wireless synchronization with a desktop computer; and when combined with third party software, wireless access to the Internet and e-mail applications.

Four GSM (global system for mobile communications) carriers in the U.S., Bell South DCS, Pacific Bell Wireless, Powertel, and VoiceStream will offer service plans for the VisorPhone. Update: Currently, only two of these are available. Pacific Bell offers service in California and Nevada and BellSouth offers service in North Carolina, South Carolina, eastern Tennessee and coastal Georgia. A broader release is expected next year. You can check to see if your area is covered with this handy on-line form.

If you would like to know more, Handspring offers a cool demo of the VisorPhone in action.

A headset is included that enables hands-free use. The software interface designed for VisorPhone allows users to scroll through other applications while a call is in progress. Since all Visor handhelds come with a built-in microphone, VisorPhone can also be used by holding Visor to the ear like any standard mobile phone.

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Visor Screwed Me.

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/18/2000 11:06:27 AM #
They don't have access in New York. That's pissing me off. I am ready to give up the visor and find another product now. I love the palm platform, but i feel let down that they didnt succeed in finding a carrier in NY to launch with.

I had waited for this product. I don't think I'm going to wait much longer to make my purchasing descision.

RE: Visor Screwed Me.
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/18/2000 11:57:12 AM #
I feel your pain. I live in Omaha NE, and we have no GSM cel carriers. At least you are able to get a Nokia 8890 and IR link if you wanted. I have nothing.


RE: Visor Screwed Me.
GregGaub @ 12/18/2000 1:32:29 PM #
Handspring didn't screw anyone.
Don't blame them for the lack of GSM coverage in your area. If you have a GSM account, you can use the Visor Phone. If you're looking for someone to blame, then point your fingers at the idiot mobile phone service providers in your area that are too stupid to realize that GSM is the way to go. I'm lucky enough to have GSM coverage in my area, but I don't have a Visor to plug one these into. I'm using my PalmV and Motorola Timeport with IR link.

Also, as I understand it, IR links for data connections are only supported on GSM phones.

I don't have anything against people getting mad at a company for screwing up. In fact, I'm mad at Palm for not working faster on getting the GSM phone sled for the PalmV on the market. The technology is there, but they're sitting on their thumbs. But when a company is not to blame (such as Handspring not being responsible for lack of GSM coverage) I will defend them.

RE: Visor Screwed Me.
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/18/2000 1:57:44 PM #
What part of NY? Voicestream is the GSM provider for much of the eastern seaboard. There is no good reason why the phone won't work in any area with GSM if you put a SIM card in it.

RE: Visor Screwed Me.
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/18/2000 2:14:32 PM #
Well, you can use the VisorPhone in any area that has a GSM market (including NYC), but if you already have a plan, you have to spend $499 on the damn thing, because the price is not subsidized by a carrier.

I've heard that Voicestream should be supporting VisorPhone in January or Febraury.

not quite true
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/18/2000 3:37:28 PM #
They don;t have a subsidized plan. You can still use VoiceStream in NYC with the VisorPhone, but you have to pay full cost for the module

RE: Visor Screwed Me.
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/18/2000 5:00:26 PM #
Yeah, an extra $200 for the module! See my post below...

RE: Visor Screwed Me.
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/18/2000 7:02:36 PM #
I still feel screwed. They should have gone to greater lengths to secure committments from NY GSM providers.

VoiceStream: 2001
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/18/2000 10:35:15 PM #
From Handspring's Site...

Regional Rollout
Handspring will be rolling out service coverage on a regional basis over the next several months, beginning with Pacific Bell Wireless and BellSouth Mobility. We currently have coverage in California, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. We expect to be adding both VoiceStream and Powertel in the new year.

So, those in VoiceStream areas just need to be patient a bit longer.

RE:  VoiceStream: 2001
Ed @ 12/19/2000 9:11:21 AM #
When I posted the article, I overstated the companies that have service plan currently available. I'veve changed the article, which you can see by reading the sentence or two after where it says Updater. Basically, the previous poster was right and you can only get a plan from BellSouth (not in Atlanta!) or PacBell.

Palm Infocenter

Way too much for purchasing w/ no service plan...

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/18/2000 4:57:34 PM #
I thought that the unit would be like $50 more or something without buying a service plan as well. But **$200** more? Buying with activation of service is $299. Buying it without activation of service is $499! Thats kind of crazy! I already have a GSM VoiceStream phone, and am locked into a contract with that for a year, and there really isnt any way that I can pay an additional $200 when I already have service from someone that is going to be a provider for them...

RE: Way too much for purchasing w/ no service plan...
GregGaub @ 12/18/2000 10:30:21 PM #
Have you called Voicestream?
It's possible that you'd be able to "cancel" your current service, and start new service buying the new phone, but keeping your SIM card (therefore your phone number). They'll probably want you to commit to an extra year (that means two years from now, since you're already committed to one) or more. They might also want your current phone back when you get the Visor Phone.

I'm not a Voicestream person, nor do I know if they'll do this kind of thing. It really depends on you.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease, remember? ;-)

I count myself lucky. I got in on beta-testing their new WebStream service, and got my hands on a Motorola Timeport for my participation. I don't use WebStream, since I can just link my PalmV to the phone via IR, and get mail and surf the web if I need to. Got web clipping installed too. hehe.
I'll admit it, though, that keeping them pointed at each other is a pain sometimes. When the GSM sled comes out for the PalmV here in the states, I'll probably start saving up to get one. I'll also be sure not to commit to any more year contracts, just in case. ;-)

Handspring Called Me!

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/19/2000 12:58:21 PM #
Wow, I am really impressed with the people at Handspring. I left a note
for them via their website yesterday, and one of the people there called
me here at work today. Like 5 minutes ago.

And you thought they never readthose things that are submitted to
websites via forms... :)

Anyhow, I explained the situation and the unhappiness with the price of
the Visorphone if I wanted to purchase it without an accompanying service
activation - $200 more than if you got it WITH an activation.

He stated that there were issues with subsidization, etc and that when you
buy a new cellphone, if you get it from someplace without an
activation, that the price is much more too.

I explained to him however that the problem is that:

1) I cant very well cancel my contract with VoiceStream and then
get back with Handspring and start another Voicestream account
up via Handspring. I would lose my existing phone number,
and all the "conveniences" of using a SIM card. Not to mention, I
am locked into a contract, and will be for the duration of the

2) If there was a way to waive the subsidization fee for existing
service owners (like myself) that that would be a very good thing.

3) Not many people, especially who already are using Voicestream as
their service provider, are going to fork over $500 for a
Visorphone, when its as simple as taking out a SIM card of an
existing GSM phone, and sticking it into a Visorphone. $200
more for the "convenience of keeping the same service" seems a
bit steep.

4) Handspring should make a cable that will let people with
cellphones hook them up to do wireless data. I was using
a Palm III series before, as there were cables to interface
between the two. But Global Pulse is not going to be making a
cable for the Handspring. Maybe Handspring should think about

5) Come up with some sort of adapter that will let Handspring users
use Palm-based serial peripherals. That way, if there was a
device that I could plug into the Handspring, and then plug Palm
peripherals into that, that would be awesome.

In any regard, the guy from Handspring was very cool, and listened to what
I had to say. Unfortunately, it didnt sound like they were going to be
able to do anything about the price, or the current situation, but its
nice to know that they really care about what their customers
say. Hopefully others will also voice their opinion about this, and
maybe something will happen..

I just wanted to share. And can someone explain to me the subsidization
of cellphones? I had never heard of this until now - and so any info
would be cool, if they have any to share...

RE: Handspring Called Me!
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/19/2000 1:36:13 PM #
Think "FREE PC"

You've heard of those 499.99 PC being 'given away' with a 3 YEAR contract to an ISP? This is the same thing. They can take the hit for the 499.99 (I sell PC for a living and those things cost about 200 max) PC because they'll make it up in the long run at 21.95/mo.

I've lusted for one of these things ever since the first rumors came out. But at these prices, who can afford them?

Cell Phone subsidation
maven @ 12/19/2000 1:55:15 PM #
It's like explained above. You see lots of "Free" cell phones on the market also - if you sign up for 2 or 3 year service plan. The cellular companies take a loss on the phone, knowing they will make it up in the service you use over the next few years.

I am a Voicestream user, and was successfully able to switch phones without losing my current number by agreeing to an extension to my contract. I don't see why Voicestream wouldn't be willing to do the same for you. Good luck!

RE: Handspring Called Me!
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/19/2000 2:12:53 PM #
So you were able to talk VoiceStream into doing this then with the Visorphone? And how did you take care of activation with Handspring in that regard? Feel free to mail me at Thanks!



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