Handspring Releases Prism and Platinum

As has been rumored for weeks, two new Visors are now on sale at the Handspring site. The Prism is the first color Visor, capable of displaying 16 bit color, over 65 thousand colors. It runs at 33 MHz, has 8 MB of memory, and an internal rechargeable lithium ion battery. It is available now for $450.

The Platinum has a monochrome screen, runs at 33 MHz, has 8 MB of memory, and uses AAA batteries. It is currently on sale for $300. Both will be available in stores in November.

Both devices run Palm OS 3.5.2H and Handspring is claiming a 50% speed increase over the Visor Deluxe. Because the Deluxe uses the 20 MHz Dragonball chip while the Prism and Platinum use the new DragonBall VZ 33MHz, this this seems quite likely.

Handspring is promising the Prism will run for 6 hours of continuous use on its internal battery and that it can be recharged in "minutes" by the cradle.

At this time, the Prism comes in only a single color, Cobalt blue while the Platinum comes in only Silver. Both are the same height and width, 4.8" x 3.0", but the Prism is slightly deeper, .8" verses the the Platinum's .7". The Platinum weighs in at 5.4 oz. and the Prism is 6.9 oz., the extra weight probably mostly due to its battery. The on/off switch on both devices has been moved to the right side.

The company will demonstrate Japanese versions of both new products in Tokyo this week at World PC Expo. Handspring expects to begin selling the Japanese versions of Visor Prism and Visor Platinum before the end of the year, along with International English and German versions in Europe. International English versions are also expected for Asia in early 2001 and other languages and markets will follow.

IDEO has released a free software update for its eyemodule so people can take pictures with both the Prism and Platinum editions of Visor.

Not surprisningly, the Handspring site is running very slowly right now. Please be prepared for some delays if you go there until the intial hoopla calms down.

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Picture of Prism

Ed @ 10/16/2000 8:08:26 AM #
To all you people who doubted that the picture of the Prism we ran last week was real, I have to point out that it was absolutely the real thing. I wonder if Handspring freaked out when that issue of Yahoo magazine came out before the Prism was released. I know they had originally intended to unveil these new Visors on Oct. 19th; I wonder if Yahoo letting the cat out of the bag had anything to do with them moving the date up a few days.

I think it is interesting that Handspring has moved the on/off button to the other side. I've always thought it was a bit awkwardly placed on the left.

Palm Infocenter

RE: Picture of Prism
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/19/2000 4:37:46 AM #
Not only that, but the screen has shifted to the LEFT, rather than to the right like all other palm devices (note: I don't think any palm devices have screens that are centered - is this a hardware thing or for some usability purpose?)

Why 65k colours?

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 8:53:07 AM #
Maybe it's just me, but I don't see the point in 65 thousand colours on a 160x160 pixel screen. Surely 256 colours is enough - I would prefer more screen space maybe even copying the pocket PC way of doing things and just writing on the screen instead of a dedicated area at the bottom of the screen. I'd also like more memory, but until a new processor is used this just isn't going to happen.

I use Multimail Pro to get round the 8k limit on mail but have run out of memory before when reciving attachments (Documents to go is a real boon for viewing office files)
I use Qed to get round the 4k limit on memos, these are issues that can only be sorted by allowing for more RAM. I know most Palm programs are small (especialy compared to PocketPC equivalent) but documents take the same amount of space whatever the platform. I know word documents coverted to text take up far less space but carry around several and the amount of RAM spare can decrease dramtically.

It breaks my heart to say this, but I'm seriously considering the PocketPC route purely for the amount of USEABLE storage space I can have with a CF card, even the TRG pro is limited with a CF card because of the limitations of the PalmOS, the card is read only (If I am wrong, let me know and I'll be placing an order for a TRG pro in the near future).

Come on Palm (and licensees) listen to your users and provide truly usesful new features, colour is nice but expandabilty is USEFUL


TRGPro and CompactFlash
Lucky Dragon @ 10/16/2000 9:48:24 AM #
READ ONLY??? Where did you hear that?!? Certainly not from their website! Not only can you store data on a Compact Flash card, you can run programs directly from it. just check out their website for complete info: http://www.trgpro.com If a 1GB Microdrive doesn't do the job, then you probably need a laptop instead of a PDA!

RE: Why 65k colours?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 10:38:55 AM #
OK, maybe I should have been a bit clearer on this. I knew you could run programs from Flash ( I use FlashPro on my xtra xtra pro upgrade) but if I store a database in flash I can't update it, the database hase to be in RAM not flash. What I need to know is does the TRG allow me to store dynamic databases on a CF card or do they have to be in RAM for me to make changes to them.


Flash ROM vs. CompactFlash
Lucky @ 10/16/2000 1:13:56 PM #
Buddy, you are confusing Flash ROM with CompactFlash memory cards. Everything you said about Flash ROM is correct, but doesn't apply to Compact Flash, which is a totally different animal. On a TRGPro, a Compact Flash memory card can be used just like extra memory for applications AND data.

RE: Why 65k colours?
arielf @ 10/16/2000 10:30:51 PM #
No, Steve is correct. You can only put read-only databases in the AutoCF directory. I've tried it. It crashes the TRGpro or makes it act funny.


No Flash ROM

Lucky Dragon @ 10/16/2000 9:53:15 AM #
What is it with Handspring? If I'm going to plunk down over $400 for a PDA, I want it to have a flashable ROM. Their website states that they use static ROM because Flash ROM is more expensive, and besides, OS patches can be loaded into RAM. While this argument may make sense for a "budget" PDA, it doesn't hold water for one that's supposed to be top-of-the-line. Anyone who's willing to pay that much in the first place is not likely to balk at a few extra bucks for the security and convenience of a Flash ROM.

Palm and their licensees

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 10:00:49 AM #
Even though I love my Visor and think it's greatest thing from sliced bread.... and also would love to get my hands on those new visors.. I have to admit..when will someone realize that some new changes are needed on the PDAs.....Something like giving the user more memory than 8 megs of memory would not also be really nice, but just straight out practical and very useful... Also the suggestion someone made about removing the writing area like they have on pocket PCs is really good... Face it.. If Pocket Pcs had the same amount of third part software avilable to it I would switch in a heartbeat...

RE: Palm and their licensees
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 10:20:10 AM #
I agree. I was once a pure Palm disciple and now I'm looking to the darkside. If I'm going to plunk down $450 for a PDA I better have voice recording, the ability to play .mp3's and large memory out of the box. I don't want to then shell out even more $ to get modules to accomplish each of these tasks. The .mp3 springboard is so overpriced and the only reason I can see someone buying this is so that can put a use to thier spring board slot.
If one was to buy an .mp3 player for about $250, the voice recorder for $69 and the $450 color visor it would total $770! A lot more expensive than the Ipaq which comes standard with all of these features and has a bigger screen and more memory!

RE: Palm and their licensees
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 12:03:01 PM #
You know... and that brings up another thing..... How freaking hard could it be for Visor to of just ad a tiny little speaker to their visor.. I mean heck.. they already have a mic built into the darn PDA; which is a big step from Palm... (Who by the way insists their design of a PDA from 3 or 4 years ago will continue to please the world for the next 20 years with no new modifications) I mean who wouldn't think a simple little voice recorder wouldn't be useful, for those times you are on the go.. I love the fact the Palm and visor are getting out of the monochrome world... but honestly I would of been happier with a voice recorder... I think it's dumb to have the mike there and now speaker... It's like building a wrist watch with no display and needs to be connected to a computer or terminal just to get the time from it...Duh. And since I am already on a role.... Why don't they make multi function springboard modules....like 8 megs, vioce recorder, and viberate or IP or a modem, or anyuthing else... this way you don't have to carry 3 or 4 of these things around..

RE: Palm and their licensees
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 12:14:40 PM #
That last one is suppose to be IR not IP... ( see what happens.. my finger are moving faster than my brain is).

Multi-Function Springboards
jebahr @ 10/16/2000 3:59:35 PM #
Innogear is supposed to be releasing a springboard soon (but probably later) that will be a standard springboard size and feature a modem land line and celluar, vibrating alarm, 8mb of extra memory, voice recorder, and a led alarm.

RE: Multi-Function Springboards
Ed @ 10/16/2000 4:17:37 PM #
Innogear also has the MiniJam, that offers an MP3 player, an e-Book reader, an image/slide-show viewer, has a flashing LED alarm, and up to 128 MB to store files. That's a lot of function for one device.

Palm Infocenter

RE: Palm and their licensees
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 10:52:23 PM #
Yeah it is... but how many hundreds of dollars do you think that will go for??? More then a Visor dulex??? Visor is trying to push the Palm...but at what price??? Again some of those PPC are lookin g alot cheaper with all the functionality.... Just wish the people at Palm and Visor would realise this...


Raishe_werk @ 10/16/2000 11:51:38 AM #
forgive me father for i have sinned. i have held fast to the heretical belief that handspring would provide a cheap quality PDA and with the advent of color and newer processors i thought it would be the path to everlasting bliss. i know now the folly of my ways in believing that they would have affordable modules. i realize now that i have been mislead into believing that they would soon move to flash ROM. please send me a prophet to port/hack/create an Palm OS emulator on a Ipaq hardware platform. this will save my soul from eternal damnation, for i can no longer afford the springboard modules. please let the Palm Vc not fall into the same follies and temptations that Prism has taken.

"Moster Pig kills Jesus
More at 11"
Palm Emulator for the Pocket PC???
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 12:17:37 PM #
Now that is a GOOD IDEA!! I know they have them for the desktop PCs.. but does anyone know if they have them for the WinCE or PocketPC platforms?? If they do... I'm selling my Visor and buying me an Ipaq.. (I love my programs for my Palm OS...but face it..for about about the same price I can get a PDA with a faster processor, plays MP3s, and can do much more)

RE: Forgiveness
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 12:25:50 PM #
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. There is a Palm emulator that runs on Pocket PC, including the iPAQ. The only downside is that the Palm interface appears smaller in respect to the iPAQ's display due to the difference in Pixel resolution. The Palm OS runs at 160x160 DPI while Pocket PC runs at 320x240 DPI.

RE: Forgiveness
Raishe_werk @ 10/16/2000 12:56:12 PM #
IM .. plz plz plz.. point me in the straight and narrow path to salvation. or if you can't.. plz point me to the URL. might be worth waiting for palm OS 4 or 5?
father.. i am coming home *read clouds part, angels sing, birds chirp*

"Moster Pig kills Jesus
More at 11"
Palm Emulator for the PPC?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 1:18:45 PM #
Behold, my Father, Wilt though show unto me the way of a tempters path? Wilt though open mine eyes and wash away mine tears and show unto me this emulator of this Palm Pilot, to which thine adversy of the PDA world ot the Pocket PC my run? And this so I may partake and know of the goodness there in or the bitternes there in of such blessing or cursing I seek. Wilt though be kind and show unto me this Holy URL so I to my surf ther in, I pray thee?

RE: Forgiveness
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 1:40:19 PM #
Looking to the darkside?

Greetings from the darkside!

I am looking forward to seeing the Prism in person (the closest I've been so far is http://www.pencomputing.com/palm/Pen37/visorsprismplatinum.html) - but there is little possibility of purchasing one, based on technologic considerations alone.

Similar to other postees here I have been a fervent PalmOS advocate - recently, however, I purchased a Casio E-125 (together with a 56K Compact Flask modem, 32MB Compact Flash card and a GoType! keyboard //-grand total: ~$750).

The primary motivation for me, as a PDA user and not a software developer, for this purchase was the quality of the display (240x320 dots, 65K color), and the fact that it is backlit. I have not been disappointed.

What have been bonuses for me are the (bundled)capabilities of this (and this goes for other Pocket PCs) device: -
Pocket Word: When the Casio sits in its' USB cradle I can directly work on its' documents using my laptop and Word 2000 (Goodbye SmartDoc!). Obviously one can edit the documents using the Casio itself - but it's nice to have this flexibility.
Also impressive and useful - Pocket Excel, MS Money, Pocket IE, Voice Recorder, MP3 Player, eBook Reader(with ClearType).
Last but not least: Software Development Tools(C++, VB)
- CD available for $7.50 S&H.

Forthcoming functionality includes Compact Flash based Bluetooth and CDPD; additionally, future Omnisky service was announced today(http://www.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/00/10/16/001016hnpocket.xml).

From my perspective it seems that the Pocket PCs have the technologic highground; in this regard Symbian devices are also on the right track.

In terms of unit sales, however, my feeling is that the PalmOS Economy is in good shape - the devices are smaller and cheaper - very important factors.

It will be interesting to see what is revealed on December 12th at PalmSource 2000.

Wondows Emulator for the PALM??
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 3:02:03 PM #
well I have deceided to search for an emulator for the PPC which will run Palm OS. No luck so far... But if any of you ever thought about running Windows on your Palm.... and wanted to know what your Palm would do.. then try going here and downloading there software.


URL for Palm Emulator
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 3:17:32 PM #

I found a Palm Emulator for WinCE....Anyone who has an Ipaq or some other WinCe device with a FAST CPU, PLEASE try this and let me know if this is worth the time and day.... (This program was written back in the WinCE2.0 days..when all the WinCE devices had slow processers).


RE: Forgiveness
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 3:59:06 PM #
I'm going to have to disagree with whomever said Palm's are smaller and cheaper. If you compare the m100 to an Ipaq than you are correct, but that is like comparing a Yugo to a BMW.
The closest thing to the Ipaq is the Palm IIIc or the Visor Prism. All have color displays, and are about the same size. The PalmIIc may be cheaper than the Ipaq, but there is no expansion slot, it has tiny screen, little memory and still costs $329! The Prism is just as expensive, has an expansion slot but does not have a voice recorder, .mp3 player and little memory. Also the springboard modules are overpriced bulky and not compatible with any other platform.
When I first got my Palm V the argument was that Pocket PC's were slow, bulky and had few third party apps. This is no longer the case Pocket PC's are now fast, sleek and gaining popularity. Also what I'm starting to realize is that most third part apps for Palm are fixes for the lack of standard features! I use Action Names ($20) to compensate for the lame datebook features, Ultrasoft Money ($40) for banking and a whole list of hackmaster apps to modify the OS.

RE: Forgiveness
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 6:49:08 PM #
Try www.conduits.com

Seems like a good emulator to me. But I don't have an iPAQ (yet) to try it out on.

In Stores WHEN?

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/16/2000 1:41:11 PM #
But WHEN will these be IN STORES?! mc

RE: In Stores WHEN?
Ed @ 10/16/2000 2:26:18 PM #
According to their press release, "Both products will be available in November through U.S. retail partners."

Palm Infocenter

Cannot see the point

Panos @ 10/16/2000 7:14:43 PM #
I don't see why someone would pay the price of the Prism to buy a limited 8MB handheld with 16bit color. What is the point of offering such a high spec color capability on a machine with such a small display, low screen resolution, low performance processor, and complete lack of multimedia capabilities? At this price range it makes sense for someone to buy a PocketPC instead which has an OS and hardware with true multimedia and multitasking capabilities. I think that the companies which build PalmOS handhelds should concentrate their efforts to improve the OS and the hardware before they offer lots of colors on such primitive machines at ridiculous prices.
RE: Cannot see the point
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/17/2000 5:14:06 PM #
The point is out-of-the-box Macintosh support. You asked.

Still has the same shit-ass 160x160 pixel display...

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/17/2000 1:02:34 AM #
What everyone seems to be forgetting is that this device still has the same old [yawn] 0x160 pixel display. Sure 16-bit color is a big step up from what we had, but what has it been - 5 YEARS at this resolution?!? I'm just simply not interested in seeing tiny black lines in between the pixels on a color device – period.

Though I'm a hardcore Palm OS fan, the fact remains that the screen on Casio’s PPCs will make this puppy look like it's playing in the sandbox. Maybe-hopefully-possibly-cross my fingers - Palm will break the 160x160 barrier when they release their rumoured Palm V-like color device next spring. I happy to see HandSpring pushing the envelope though - it'll force Palm off it's ass...

The Enforcer

RE: Still has the same shit-ass 160x160 pixel display...
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/17/2000 11:22:57 AM #
Breaking the 160x160 barrier?!

See http://www.jeffkirvin.com/writingonyourpalm/ for an interesting snippet on where Palm is probably going.

You may be disappointed.

What to choose?

li21@uk2.net @ 10/20/2000 6:47:24 AM #
Hey people,
The new visor prism has just made deciding on my next PDA more difficult. I love PalmOs because
its simple and WinCE/PPC hasnt much software available. But now it seems that they are getting much more software support and with built in stereo sound, mp3 and video playback, I'm thinking of converting!
Will the new SONYColor and Visor Prism palms be able to off this?
Also if I was to stick with PalmOs,
which would I choose Sony or Prism? I definately want 16bit color and to be smaller than my Palm IIIx.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
email me at li21@uk2.net

Magellin GPS technology?

I.M. Anonymous @ 1/10/2001 12:42:33 PM #
I have been asked to research which of the handhelds also offer Magellin GPS capabilities. Can anyone help?
Please post coments here
or email scarter@vision-corp.com

RE: Magellin GPS technology?
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/10/2001 3:49:24 PM #
I saw a magellin gps piggyback cradel at Frys Electronics for $170 around christmas for the Palm V



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