In the midst of packing for my big move to Brooklyn, I ran into some interesting legacy technology that I’ve been lugging around with me everywhere — cassette tapes of 80s music, movies on VHS, film point-and-shoot cameras, and this blast from the past: the Handspring Visor with the cell phone attachment!
Man, I loved that crappy old PDA phone. I lined it up next to my iPhone, and it actually wasn’t as enormous as I remembered it, at least from the front.
It’s when you turn it on it’s side that you see the difference:
Definitely not sexy that big bulky thing sticking out of the back of the Handspring. Impossible to keep in even a cargo pocket, with a knobby antenna sticking out the top.
The back is even uglier, with a big battery case protruding out of it. (No, that’s not my number anymore.)
Aesthetics aside, the Handspring Visor was a nice device. Advantages over the iPhone:
- Sim card based phone — so not locked into a single (sucky) cell provider!
- Lots of third party apps
- Lots cheaper (I think I got mine for around $125?)
- Cool peripherals you could add through expansion slot (GPS, games, camera, keyboard, etc.)
- Worked with stylus or just your finger
- Ran for 2-3 weeks on one battery charge!
- Three color options: metallic, blue and red
- Metallic cover to protect the face
That said, it really wasn’t a very good cell phone. Audio quality was just crap, even by 2001 standards.
But for the time, it was a great little machine.