Friday, March 15, 2002


About a year ago, I participated in a panel discussion at MIT about the future of wireless communications. To illustrate the wireless market's confusion, one of the panelists took out all of his wireless devices from his pockets and his briefcase and laid them on the table. When he was done, there were four devices next to his microphone: a cell phone, a pager, a Palm pilot and a RIM Blackberry wireless email device. The pager was there because his wife was pregnant. His plea: "I want all this in one package."

That package has arrived. It is Handspring's Treo, a smartly-designed combination cell phone, PDA, wireless email device and pager. Treo was created by the men who invented the original Palm Pilot and the reviews have been nothing short of glowing. The question now is whether consumers will pay $400 for the privilege of owning one or will they stick with the gadgets they have. It's a question that has big implications for a number of companies, including Research in Motion, Nokia and Motorola.