Handspring cuts PDA prices as market heats up

Faced with stiff competition in a market that is becoming increasing crowded, Handspring Inc. has lowered its suggested retail price for its Visor line of handheld PDAs (personal digital assistants), the company announced Monday.

Specifically, the MB Visor will be priced at US$129 (a savings of $20), the Visor Deluxe will cost $169 (down $30), the Visor Platinum is priced at $199 (down $50) and the Visor Edge now has a price tag of $299 (down $100), Handspring said in a statement. No Australian pricing has been made thus far.

The PDAs can be purchased directly from Handspring's Web site or at various retail locations, Handspring said.

The new pricing is effective immediately and consumers in Canada can expect similar price reductions, the company said. Handspring did not disclose if consumers outside of the U.S. and Canada will benefit from price reductions in the Visor handheld line.

This is the second cut in Visor prices since May, when the midrange Visor Deluxe was reduced to $199 and a $50 rebate was offered on the Visor Platinum. That move compelled rival Palm Inc. to cut the price of its Palm VIIx the following week from $299 to $199. Price reductions are not unusual for Handspring. Last month, the company cut the price of its VisorPhone GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) module from $249 to $49 when purchased with a one-year service contract from specific wireless providers. The mobile phone module plugs into the back of a Visor handheld computer and allows users to make wireless calls and access the Web and e-mail accounts.

The PDA market has become increasingly crowded of late with Handspring and Palm facing competition from relative newcomers Compaq Computer Corp., Sharp Corp. and Sony Corp. Furthermore, Toshiba Corp. and NEC Corp. both have plans to debut on the Japanese PDA market with their own devices by the end of the year.

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