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Global positioning add-on ready for Handspring Visor

A start-up company is releasing a cartridge that can provide localized information to the Handspring Visor.

    Start-up company GeoDiscovery tomorrow will release a global positioning add-on cartridge for the Handspring Visor, providing localized information for the handheld gadget.

    GeoDiscovery will also launch tomorrow as it unveils its first products, including a global positioning system (GPS) device called the Geode that uses the Visor's Springboard expansion slot.

    Handspring's Visor personal digital assistant (PDA), based on technology from Palm, allows people to upgrade their devices with the Springboard slot. Slow to catch on initially, Handspring and its partners now have a variety of Springboard cards either in the works or shipping, including MP3 players, digital cameras, pagers, wireless modems and backup storage.

    Handspring is set for its initial public offering this week.

    The growing interest in the expansion technology indicates the exploding popularity of all manner of digital gadgets, especially entertainment products, such as MP3 players, and wireless devices, such as the Palm VII or Web-enabled cell phones. Handspring purports to offer an all-in-one solution for gadget lovers because the basic PDA can be upgraded with add-on cards providing all these functions.

    The market for handheld computing devices is growing rapidly. GeoDiscovery cites research from International Data Corp. that there will be 36 million such gadgets in use by 2003.

    GeoDiscovery is providing the service along with GPS technology firm Sirf. It is targeting the Geode for travelers, athletes and professionals working outside the office. Geode is also designed for business use in the real estate and insurance markets.

    "We want to provide consumers with the most accurate and reliable location-aware tool possible," Brian Sevy, vice president of marketing for GeoDiscovery, said in a statement. "We are empowering mobile individuals with location-specific maps, directions, and content for increased interactivity on their handheld device."