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Handspring Visor


Palm Pilots were always something that were interesting but when the original founders broke away from 3Com to create Handspring, the devices they came up with were downright fascinating.  Syncing over USB? Sprinboard port for almost endless add-ons?  Yes please!  I picked up a Visor Deluxe in sweet, sweet early 00's clear casing.  There were also some translucent color cases as well, depending upon your preference for how decorative you want your handheld.  And black, Henry Ford would be happy.  The flagship Prism that displayed glorious 16-bit color came in a business casual blue.  The Deluxe came with 8MB of RAM (the original Visor Solo was only equipped with 2MB), ran on 2 AAA batteries for what seemed like months and a pretty snazzy grayscale screen.  In college, I recall utilizing the Calendar and To-Do applications being handy in an effort to organize.  Additionally, the Address book that was built-in was huge in the era of cell phones that didn't store numbers.  Another long-forgotten feature of the
PDA era is the IR port.  Whether it being used for a short-range TV remote or printing via IR to one of those old school HP printers with the infrared receiver on the front, IR was definitely more useful than it had any business being.

The super-duper secret functionality sauce was in the Springboard modules.  I only acquired a few of these in the years of owning a Visor - in no particular order :

InnoPak / 2V - Backup module combined with additional Visor storage.  Handy to keep additional applications on but as I recall, there was a bit of a speed trade-off(?)  I would love to hear about other's experience with these!

SoundsGood MP3 Module - Nifty MP3 player add on that 19-year old me thought was amazing.  Digital music on a device in my pocket or bag?  Someone should really figure out how to make that work...

SpringBoard Modem - Ah, dialup...  I have zero idea how anyone would be able to actually do any real work, save for just uploading documents and updating email/calendar.  It was mostly a novelty with very, very, *very* rudimentary browsing.  I recall thinking the Dreamcast browser (which also operated via dialup) was a much better web experience.

SkyTel Pager Module - I ended up getting this for next to free, getting excited about the potential of wireless communication on this spectacular little device and then being sorely disappointed when I discovered the service wasn't available in the area of my small, plains state school.  It was probably a blessing in disguise as the service was around $40/monthly and that would have ended up being more than my cell phone plan.  I still tell myself the novelty would have been worth it.

I would have loved to have tried the cell phone Springboard module and get an early smartphone experience.  The battery life may not have been great and it might have been wildly impractical but a young, nerdier me would have relished the opportunity.