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10 Reasons to Bring Back the VisorPhone

Wed Apr 9, 2008 - 10:59 AM EDT - By Dieter Bohn


Today's history lesson: the Visor. Many a Treo owner may have heard that the company that makes their favorite smartphone has a long and sordid corporate history of splits, mergers, and yet more splits. The 2nd biggest split was when Palm founder Jeff Hawkins and a few select other left Palm to start up their own handheld company: Handspring.

Handspring licenses the PalmOS and began making Visors. Visors were superior to Palm-branded Palm devices primarily because they had a large slot used for expansion modules - the Springboard. The Visor platform was so popular that a community site sprung up around it - VisorCentral.com. VisorCentral later became TreoCentral (more on that in a bit).

Many of TreoCentral's top community members (as well as a few ne'er-do-wells like yours truly) started following the Treo Platform long before there was a Treo, back in our VisorCentral days.

The Visor went through several iterations and there was also a wide array of Springboard modules available for the Visor - from Barcode scanners to GPS chips to cameras to mp3 players. Heck, Good Messenging (now owned by Motorola) got their start not with push email, but by making the SoundsGood MP3 SpringBoard Module for the Visor.

But both the Visor and the SpringBoard were both designed, in Jeff Hawkin's mind, for an almost singular purpose: the VisorPhone. A unification of the world's most popular PDA platform with a phone for calls and data. It was the first.

Later Handspring did away with the PDA Phone concept and just integrated them directly, giving birth to the Treo 180 (though the nerdiest among us knew that the original Treo really was just a VisorPhone inside -- heck, the call screen today [looks virtually identical to the original[http://www.visorcentral.com/content/Stories/76-2.htm)). Later came the 270 and the 300. Then the 600, the first "candybar" Treo, inagurated the form-factor that we all know and love today. Palm purchased Hanspring back, and the development of Treos churned on under their roof.

Why would anybody in their right mind recommend bringing back this chunky beast? Why would Palm even consider such a blast from the past? Read on.

Yes, there are 5 reasons not to bring it back at the end.

Next Page: The First Five Reasons >>

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