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FCC pulls OK for handhelds

The agency, which earlier this week approved new wireless handhelds from Palm and Handspring, has now set aside its decisions at the request of the companies.

The Federal Communications Commission, which earlier this week approved new wireless handhelds from Palm and Handspring, has set aside its decisions at the request of the companies.

As first reported by CNET News.com, Palm received approval Monday for the i705, a handheld with built-in wireless data access, and Handspring was granted approval Tuesday for two Palm operating system-based handhelds that combine cell phone and organizer functions.

The status of the applications was changed Wednesday from granted to pending, said Richard Fabina, chief of the equipment authorization branch at the FCC's laboratories.

The reason for the FCC's initial actions was that Palm and Handspring originally failed to indicate on their applications that they wanted to delay approval until they were closer to announcing their products, said Bruce Franca, acting chief of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology.

"We will, at the request of the manufacturer, defer the grants," he said. "All they have to do is check a box."

Franca said Handspring has asked that the grant be held until Oct. 15, although that date could be amended later. Franca said he did not know when the Palm approval might be reauthorized.

The effect of Wednesday's status change is that information made public about the devices is no longer available. Once an application for equipment authorization is approved, the information is public, Fabina said. But a pending application is not public.

FCC approval, known as a grant of equipment authorization, is required of any wireless device that contains a transmitter, from wireless keyboards to cell phones to remote-control cars.

Handspring Treo g180 The Handspring and Palm applications, like most, contained photos and detailed information on the new devices.

For example, the Handspring application noted that the devices, the Treo k180 and the Treo g180, feature a 33MHz Dragonball processor, 16MB of memory and phone functions similar to Handspring's VisorPhone. Both models have the same internal components, but the k180 features a tiny keyboard while the g180 uses Palm's Graffiti handwriting recognition.

Palm's application for the i705, meanwhile, noted that device will be able to access corporate e-mail and comes with a built-in antenna, a universal connector for add-ons and syncing, and a postage-stamp-size Secure Digital expansion slot.

A Palm representative declined to comment on the FCC action. A Handspring representative was not immediately available to comment.