February 10, 2002 9:00 PM PST

Handspring begins selling Treo in U.S.

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Handspring began selling its Treo handheld-cell phone combo device via its Web site Sunday, marking the gadget's U.S. arrival.

The Treo will cost $399 with activation from either Cingular Wireless or VoiceStream and is available with a keyboard or with room to input text using the Palm OS' Graffiti characters. Customers also have the option of buying the unit without a service plan for $549.

Those who buy the device with service from Cingular or without service should have their unit in two weeks, while those who buy the device with VoiceStream service may have to wait up to four weeks, according to a Handspring representative.

Starting U.S. sales of the device is a key milestone for Handspring, which has said it plans to phase out sales of its non-wireless organizers in favor of products like the Treo. The device was announced in October, two months after some details were made public in a regulatory filing. Handspring has already started selling the device in Hong Kong and Singapore.

The company said last month that shipments of the Treo in the United States were being slowed by a shortage of a key component. The company later said it was on track to meet its revised goal of having the Treo on store shelves by March.

Handspring is also looking to reach out to those who bought its first wireless product, the VisorPhone, which plugged into the Springboard expansion slot of a Visor handheld. Handspring is offering VisorPhone owners the chance to buy the Treo at the $399 price without having to sign up for new service.

Separately, Handspring on Sunday dropped the price of its Visor Edge handheld to $199 from $249.


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