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Hawkins tries to clear up confusion

Fri Jan 18, 2002 - 10:18 PM EST - By Marcus Adolfsson

Handspring developers this evening received an e-mail from Jeff Hawkins, where he tries to clarify Donna's comments regarding Handspring's plans to stop making traditional organizers.

"Dear Handspring Developer,

There has been some confusion over Handspring's commitment to the organizer business as a result of comments we made in our recent conference call with financial analysts. We are sorry for any confusion we may have caused. I am writing to clarify our position.

Handspring remains committed to producing and supporting our organizer products. We believe that there will be a market for organizers for some time to come. What we intended in our earnings call is that because of our strong belief in the value of wireless communications, we are putting more and more of our development resources into our communicator products. This is true. We are very excited about the Treo communicator and are investing heavily in future communicator products.

The Visor product line has been an incredible success and the Springboard expansion slot supports many great solutions thanks to you. As the Visor product line matures we are consolidating the line into a few key products, Visor Pro, Visor Neo and Visor Edge. Going forward we will continue to support Springboard developers. We will continue to manufacture and sell Visor products as long as there is sufficient demand and we are able to build them. It is natural that as demand dictates we may reduce the number of SKUs and the geographies and channels in which they are available.

Again, I hope this clarifies any confusion we may have caused. Thank you for your support of Handspring in the past and I look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.

Jeff Hawkins"

While Handspring promises to continue to "manufacture and sell Visor products", the statment makes it pretty clear that Handspring will not develop any new Visor models, with the possible exception for modifications to the existing key products mentioned above.

The fact that Hawkins forsees a reduced demand for the Visor product line, a smaller product assortment, and fewer sales channels, also speaks for fact that the Visor line is being phased out.

VisorCentral reader usonian2001 looks further into the issue: "It also sounds as though they're not planning much in the way of improvements to the existing Visors; Palm is slated to introduce StrongARM-based OS5 devices later this year... Handspring devices aren't even running OS4. Since the only real statement about the fate of the Visor line is that they're consolidating it down to the Neo, Pro, and Edge models, it doesn't seem likely that there will be any new Visor models, ever."

Another reader, Toby, wonders why Handspring keeps repeating the same line: "How many times and how many different people from Handspring are just going to reiterate the same statement? I don't think there's much of any confusion from the developers or the user base. The same simple message keeps coming through. Handspring is concentrating their resources on the Treo-type 'communicators'. They aren't EOLing the visors _yet_, but they're basically ending R&D on the line which will pretty much cause them to stagnate and stop selling if other manufacturers keep their PDA lines up to date. What do they think people don't understand?"

While the recent news certainly does not appear to be good news for us Handspring and Visor supporters, we will have to look toward the future and Handspring’s exciting upcoming products.


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