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PDA maker's marketplace to offer developers a hand

Handspring launches an online exchange through which its developers, partners and service providers can do business together.

    Handheld maker Handspring on Monday officially launched an online marketplace through which its developers, partners and service providers can do business together.

    As first reported, the site will allow participants to work on business strategy, software development for both Handspring's Springboard module and the Palm operating system, Web design and development, and graphic design, the company said in a statement. The outsourcing services company eLance will run the site.

    Software development is a pressing matter for makers of PDAs such as Handspring's Visor. The demand for such devices is strong, but programmers of applications for them are in short supply.

    The new marketplace, which can be accessed from both Handspring's and eLance's Web sites, allows users to contribute to the development of Handspring applications, contract marketing, and consulting and engineering services. Developers can post a project on the marketplace, receive bids from service providers and then award the project to the most attractive bid.

    Although the once hot trend toward business-to-business marketplaces has witnessed a slowdown, many individual companies are launching their own Web sites for connecting their business partners and workers online.

    Using the Palm OS, Mountain View, Calif.-based Handspring owns a large slice of the handheld market, particularly at the low end. The company this week plans to launch a $50 rebate for its Visor Deluxe, aiming to fan the flames heating up the market for low-end handhelds.

    eLance is a professional services marketplace that connects businesses with help on projects such as software development, Web design and development, translation services, graphic design and copywriting.