In just a year and a half, Handspring has sold more than 1 million handheld devices and grabbed more than a quarter of the exploding market.But it faces plenty of new challengers. Here's how the competition stacks up:
PALM INC. (PALM)
MARKET SHARE: 59%
PRODUCTS AND PRICES: m100, Palm IIIC, Palm V line, and Palm VII line; $150-$450
STRENGTHS: Market leader, with heavy brand recognition. It has signed up more than 150,000 developers to create software and hardware add-ons that will turn Palms into more than electronic organizers.
WEAKNESSES: The operating system is too simple to handle future applications such as video and voice recognition. It's difficult to connect to Microsoft Office products.
HANDSPRING INC. (HAND)
MARKET SHARE: 28%
PRODUCTS AND PRICES: Visor, Visor Edge, Visor Deluxe, Visor Platinum, and Visor Prism models; $150-$450
STRENGTHS: Its plug-and-play slot turns the Visor into a cell phone, an MP3 player, and more. Visors can exchange data with PCs faster than some Palms.
WEAKNESSES: Does not include flash memory; models cannot be upgraded to allow for new features such as video and voice recognition when the Palm operating software it uses changes.
COMPAQ COMPUTER (CPQ)
MARKET SHARE: 3%
PRODUCTS AND PRICES: iPaq and Aero lines; $500-$600
STRENGTHS: Uses the Microsoft Pocket PC operating system. Pocket versions of Microsoft Windows, Office, and MP3 player are built in.
WEAKNESSES: Component shortages have limited supply. The complex Microsoft operating system makes it harder to quickly develop compelling new software applications.
HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. (HWP)
MARKET SHARE: 3%
PRODUCTS AND PRICES: Jornada Pocket PC and Jornada Handheld PCs; $500-$600
STRENGTHS: Massive processor and memory. Easily links to Microsoft Office and e-mail software.
WEAKNESSES: Weighs a relatively heavy nine ounces and has no built-in wireless capability. Because it runs on the Microsoft system, it has fewer developers than Palm.
Market share data: PC Data
Other data: Company reports, BusinessWeek