Handspring Raises Some Treo Prices

Although it has barely been available for two months, Handspring Inc.
confirmed Wednesday that it is raising the prices on some of its Treo communicator devices, which combine wireless telephony and handheld functionality.

A spokeswoman said the company was raising the price for Treo 180 units that are not purchased as part of a wireless operator’s calling plan. Those devices will increase from $549 to $599. The device will continue to cost $399 when it is purchased with a wireless service plan.

The spokeswoman said that the “vast majority” of Treos are being sold as part of a service plan and, as a result, the price hike will impact only on a limited number of customers. The lower price is being partially subsidized by the wireless carriers that offer the devices, she noted.

“As we expand our sales channel from online only to multi-tiered distribution, we are increasing the price of the unsubsidized Treo to allow channel partners to make a reasonable profit selling our products,” said Handspring spokesperson Holly McDermott.

The Palm OS-based Treo is one of the initial examples of so-called smart communicators, which combine multiple functions into a single mobile device. Nokia already has been selling its 9210 communicator in Europe and most major phone vendors have announced plans to release similar devices.

The initial Treos were designed to work only with GSM wireless networks, which predominate in Europe. However, the company announced this week that it also was developing a version for CDMA networks.

David Haskin is managing editor of sister site allNetDevices.com.

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