The next generation of product from Handspring won't ship until late summer, but the company hinted to us on Friday that it would involve a major redesign.
The Treo Communicator hasn't undergone a case overhaul since its launch in November 2001, although the internals - both hardware and software - have been improved in the 270 and 300 models and with a subsequent software upgrade.
So for now, the company will continue to offer steep discounts on its existing range. A T-Mobile-branded Treo 270 went on sale here today with a $100 rebate. The American wing of the Deutsche Telecom giant uses Cingular's GSM/GPRS network here in California.
While the danger is that loyal customers will hold off making a repeat purchase until seeing the new range, Handspring now increasingly targets the enterprise market, which has more conservative buying patterns.
Handspring's Brian Jaquet told us the 270 was co-developed with T-Mobile, and that the company will increasingly push to use the carriers' retail space as a storefront. Handspring has a phone handset company's expenses, but not its volumes although it has cut costs drastically to meet demand in its transition from a PDA company to a communicator company. While it's never turned a profit, net losses were trimmed to $12.2m in the most recent quarter, and Treo sales are edging up. ®