RealTime IT News

Handspring Trots Out Treo in Singapore

Handspring Inc. Thursday made official the launch of two Treo communicator models to retail outlets in Singapore.

The Treo models 180 and 180g ("g" meaning graffiti handwriting recognition, in this case), which can best be described as wireless phone and PDA hybrids, feature Web browsing and text messaging.

Accompanying the launch is the island's leading wireless service provider, SingTel.

"SingTel is pleased to be Handspring's exclusive partner in Singapore to offer the much anticipated integrated wireless Treo at SingTel's hello! and pod outlets. We believe this sleek device, which combines a mobile phone and PDA, will give a brand new integrated communications experience to our mobile customers," said Ooi Lay Yong, SingTel's vice president of consumer sales.

Treo measures 11 x 6.9 x 1.8 centimeters and weighs 147 grams. Powered by Palm Inc.'s operating system, it has a rechargeable battery, speaker, antenna, and four buttons: phone book, date book, short messaging service (SMS) and one to automatically launch Handspring's microbrowser. Treo can be purchased for about $968 ($525 in U.S. dollars) at SingTel retail locations and select IT stores. This includes a two-year service plan.

Thursday's news comes a couple of weeks after Handspring, which suffered a tough fiscal year in 2001, announced that it would transition out of the traditional handheld business in favor of more communicator-like products such as its highly-touted Treo. But even that is no sure-shot, as the company said concurrently with its earnings updates that a component shortage has made the manufacturing process slower than it desired.

With Treo, Handspring is preparing for serious growth in wireless device use. A recent study by Cahners In-Stat/MDR found that there are more than 78 million remote and mobile workers in the U.S. today.

"Providing workers with access to business applications and the Internet will be key priorities for U.S. businesses this year, as the steady growth of the remote and mobile (RAM) workforce continues to affect firms' IT investments," the research firm said.