August 12, 2002 6:40 AM PDT

Handspring releases new Treo

Handspring has begun selling its latest Treo Communicator, which combines the attributes of a personal digital assistant and a cell phone.

The Treo 300 will use Sprint's new PCS Vision plan for both voice and data services, such as e-mail and Web access.

Despite its higher model number, however, the new Treo 300 device is essentially a version of the Treo 270 designed to work on Sprint's high-speed wireless network. The new device will sell for $499, the same price as the Treo 270.

Sprint will offer Treo 300 owners three months of PCS Vision service for free. When that time is up, monthly service plans for voice and data will cost between $50 and $105 per month. Voice-only plans will start at $35. The new service was launched last week, making Sprint the last of the big four national wireless carriers to add an advanced data-capable network--though the first to off coast-to-coast coverage.

Handspring has had high hopes for its Treo line, which first hit stores early this year. But in the second quarter, the company faced steep declines. It shipped 170,590 handhelds during that period, almost half as many as it did during the first quarter. Still, it held fourth place among the handheld makers--behind Palm, Hewlett-Packard and Sony--and grabbed 6.5 percent of worldwide unit shipments.


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