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Handspring readies rebate on latest model

In another sign that the PC price war is filtering down to handheld computers, Handspring is set to announce a new rebate program on its latest model.

In another sign that the PC price war is filtering down to handheld computers, Handspring on Thursday will announce a new rebate program on its latest model.

Consumers will receive a $100 rebate on the $399 Visor Edge, the sleek, high-powered model Handspring introduced in March, with a trade-in of a PDA (personal digital assistant) from Handspring or any of its competitors, said Handspring spokesman Brian Jaquet.

The move comes after a series of recent price-cutting moves by competitor Palm, which has been plagued by excess inventory. The PDA leader trimmed the price of its wireless Palm VIIx model by a third last month and offered steep discounts to its huge developer community. Retailers have also taken matters into their own hands, cutting prices on the latest Palm models.

Handspring has been more reserved with price cutting, offering small discounts and rebates and some freebies to keep pace with Palm.

Jaquet said the new rebate is aimed at getting customers with older Visor and other PDA models to trade up, but he also acknowledged the Palm factor. "Obviously we're not immune to competitive pressure," he said.

The trade-in offer covers all Palm OS, Windows CE, Psion, and Pocket PC-based PDAs, along with models from Sharp, Casio and others. Even Apple's relatively ancient Newton qualifies. "We're not being too picky," Jaquet said.

Handspring is believed to have been less affected by the tech slowdown, partly because it didn't lock itself into the component contracts that helped swell Palm's inventory. In its most recent quarter, Handspring CEO Donna Dubinsky said the company would take appropriate steps to deal with "soft" sales demand, including cutting back on hiring and other cost-cutting measures.