Handspring shows off a new pair of Treos

Topping the new releases is the long-awaited Treo 270, a combination cell phone and organizer that also boasts a color display.

Richard Shim Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Richard Shim
writes about gadgets big and small.
Richard Shim
2 min read
Handspring has added two new handhelds to its line of Treo devices.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based device maker began selling the Treo 270 and Treo 90 on its Web site Monday. As previously reported, the Treo 270 is similar to the already available Treo 180, which is a combination cell phone and organizer, and also boasts a color display. The device comes with 16MB of memory and costs $499 ($100 less than Handspring previously announced) and includes a one-year service contract from cell phone network operators Cingular Wireless or VoiceStream Wireless.

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Handspring has also begun selling the $299 Treo 90 on its Web site. The Treo 90 is similar in appearance to the Treo 180, but it does not have a wireless modem for making cell phone calls. It comes with a color screen, version 4.1 of the Palm operating system, 16MB of memory and a built-in keyboard. The Treo 90 will also be the first Handspring device to use a Secure Digital expansion slot instead of the company's hallmark Springboard expansion slot.

Both devices come as Handspring's handheld market share position slipped from No. 2 to No. 3 in March, according to NPDTechworld. Palm maintains the top spot, with 54.3 percent of the retail market, followed by Sony, with 15.4 percent, and Handspring, with 14.5 percent. NPDTechworld tracks shipment numbers from manufacturers to retail stores.

In addition, Handspring's products have started to pile up at retailers and distributors, according to a report by securities firm UBS Warburg earlier this month. Handspring's U.S. retail inventory level has grown to 14.5 weeks as of April 1, up from 11.3 weeks a month earlier and 9.6 weeks' worth a year ago.

Handspring CEO Donna Dubinsky said during a conference call earlier this year that the company is transitioning its business and will eventually stop making traditional handheld organizers in favor of its wireless Treo communicators. The transition is expected to occur gradually.

Handspring has been touting its Treo line since its introduction in late 2001. Despite a shipment of 47,000 Treo 180s in the first quarter, only about 13,000 of the devices made their way into consumers' hands.

The Treo 180 and 270 run on GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) cellular networks. Handspring is also expected to release a version of the Treo that runs on CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) cellular networks this year.