Company Extends Visor Family With Visor Prism and Visor Platinum Editions; Demonstrates Power of Color With New Springboard Products Including Color Images, Games, GPS and MP3 Modules Handspring, Inc., (Nasdaq:HAND) today introduced two new products in its popular Visor family of handheld computers: Visor Prism and Visor Platinum.
Visor Prism, Handspring's first color-enabled product, boasts 16-bit color and can display over 65,000 colors for viewing picture-quality graphics, as well as vivid games and maps. Visor Platinum is the fastest Palm OS handheld computer on the market today -- at least 50% faster than Visor Deluxe and as much as twice as fast as many other Palm OS products. In addition, Visor Prism and Visor Platinum feature the Springboard expansion slot to harness the true benefits of a color display and full expandability. Visor Prism and Visor Platinum are available immediately at Handspring.com for U.S. $449 and $299, respectively. Visor Prism comes in cobalt blue and Visor Platinum is metallic silver. Both products will be available in November through U.S. retail partners.
With the introduction of the new Visor products, Handspring continues to focus intensely on building its leadership overseas. The company will demonstrate Japanese versions of both new products in Tokyo, Japan 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.
Also announced recently from third-party developers are new Springboard modules designed to take advantage of the benefits of vibrant color including a GPS module from GeoDiscovery, an MP3 player from Good Technology and a color game pack from Pocket Express. In addition, IDEO has released a free software update for its popular eyemodule so people can take pictures with both the Prism and Platinum editions of Visor.
Visor Prism and Visor Platinum are the first Visor handhelds powered by Motorola's DragonBall VZ 33 MHz processor, bringing important advantages to typical daily handheld use. For Visor Prism, the increased power results in faster rendering of images for use in multimedia applications such as games, mapping applications, and video playback. Visor Platinum offers all of these benefits in a crisp monochrome package including support for 16 shades of gray (4-bit grayscale), and takes performance even higher by increasing the speed of everyday tasks such as finding data in the address book and memo pad applications, sorting records and accessing and deleting items from the applications launcher.
"Combining Visor Prism's rich, bright color display with Springboard expansion technology makes it a unique platform for exciting applications like digital photography, global positioning systems, and color Internet browsing," said Joe Sipher, vice president of product marketing for Handspring. "Visor Platinum's increased performance coupled with a display capable of 16 shades of gray will help enable developers to create new performance-intensive and advanced graphics applications."
The company will also begin selling a new range of accessories for the new Visor family including the innovative GameFace joystick, a snap-on accessory currently exclusive to Visor handhelds that brings Palm OS gaming to a new level. The GameFace joystick for Visor standard, Solo, Deluxe and Platinum editions is scheduled to ship later this year at Handspring.com for U.S. $39.95 and will be bundled with Astraware's Zap!2000 arcade game. The GameFace joystick for Visor Prism is scheduled to ship in early 2001. The GameFace joystick will support most Palm OS-enabled games.
Visor Prism offers consumers a superior color display combined with the flexibility and versatility of the Springboard expansion slot. The Visor Prism screen displays 65,536 colors (16-bit) on an active matrix LCD designed for optimal brightness and readability. With Visor Prism's vibrant color screen, users can take full advantage of modules and applications such as digital cameras, global positioning systems, modems, web browsers and games in rich color detail. Powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery, Visor Prism will provide nearly two weeks of normal use on a single charge. In addition, the battery recharges in minutes when docked in the Visor Prism's charging cradle.
Visor Platinum takes the monochrome line of Visor products to the next level. It is designed for users who require increased speed and performance from their handheld computer. Visor Platinum is the fastest Palm OS handheld available and includes the enhancements of Palm OS 3.5 such as wireless infrared synchronization and enhanced security. Visor Platinum runs on two AAA batteries that provide four to six weeks of performance with standard use.
Both new editions of Visor come with 8MB of RAM and include the basic features of the Visor line of products such as enhanced applications, USB support, Mac OS compatibility out of the box and the innovative Springboard expansion slot.
Both products are based on a version of Palm OS 3.5 that Handspring has optimized for fast performance, Springboard compatibility, USB connectivity and 16-bit color support. There are also standard security and usability enhancements of Palm OS 3.5 which are included in both new versions of Visor.
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