Just recently Handspring was expected to be the first major rival to 3Com’s Palm PDA. Now, however, rather than marketing their product, Handspring is barely able to get the Visor into the hands of customers.
Delays and many other technical problems have hindered the success of the new gadget. According to U.S. News’ recent article, such happened to Michael Siegal, vice president of a New Jersey brokerage firm. Not only did his Visor arrive weeks late, but it was also black instead of the ice color that he had ordered. But that was not the end of his worries. He also soon found out that the PDA would not sync using USB with his PC – one of the Visor’s main selling points. Finally, after frustrating calls to tech support, he ended up getting a Palm instead.
But Handspring’s executives are scrambling to solve these problems. Founders Donna Dubinksy and Jeff Hawkins are replying to e-mails personally. The heads of the company were originally part of the Palm design team, and have positioned Visor as an overall better digital assistant.
Handspring underestimated their demand before launching the product in the middle of September. Within days, they were flooded with more orders than they could fill. Various technical problems led to more problems. Some ended up receiving the wrong orders, others received two Visors instead of the one they had ordered, and some were billed for the wrong units, along with many other problems. Their customer support had not exactly been supportive either, with the maxed-out service hotlines greeting customers with busy signals and long wait times.