Handspring suffers heavy drop in Q3 revenue

Blaming weakening demand for handheld devices, Handspring on Monday reported a larger loss than had been expected for the third quarter. The results come on the eve of Handspring releasing two new devices into the Australian market.

Handspring launched the Treo 180 and 180g PDAs (personal digital assistants) designed to combine the functions of a mobile phone and handheld computer with Web browsing and text messaging.

Revenue for the California-based PDA maker for the third quarter to March 31 was $US59.7 million, a steep drop from its reported revenue of $123.8 million for the same period last year, Handspring said in a statement.

International sales accounted for $11.5 million in revenue, or 19 per cent of the company's total this quarter, Handspring's chief financial officer, Bernard Whitney, said in a telephone news conference.

The company posted a net income loss of $23.7 million, or a loss of $0.18 per share for the quarter, Handspring said. That compares to a loss of $27.2 million, or $0.26 per share for the third quarter of 2001.

Donna Dubinsky, founder, president and CEO, said that Handspring remained confident that its Treo communicator product -- a combined mobile phone and PDA -- would help lead the company back to profitability.

Nonetheless, the company said it expected sales in the fourth quarter to be between $47 million and $57 million with a loss of $0.09 to $0.13 per share, due in part to "continued price pressure" on its Visor product line, Whitney said.

Handspring shipped 47,000 units of Treo in the quarter since debuting the product in February, though only about 13,000 have been sold to consumers, Dubinsky said.

"It is clear to us that the level of training required to sell this product is greater than that of our past products and the amount of time needed to communicate broadly to consumers will be longer than we had predicted,'' Dubinsky said.

In Australia, the Treo range will retail for $A1,39

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