FCC Cancels Approval of Wireless Units

By Carmen Nobel  |  Posted 2001-09-10

At the request of the companies, the Federal Communications Commission has retracted approval of three wireless devices—two from Handspring Inc. and one from Palm Inc.—but the cat is already out of the bag.

Once a product is approved, information about it is made public on the FCC site. Since the FCC retracted the approval, the information is no longer available on the site, but several news outlets and personal digital assistant fan sites already have posted information about the products.

After the product information had been posted publicly, "they asked if we could defer their grant," said Bruce Franca, acting chief of the FCCs Office of Engineering and Technology, in Washington. "Thats a routine process."

Handsprings future products include two handhelds that incorporate cell phone capabilities, according to letters filed to the FCC from Handspring engineer David Waitt, in Mountain View, Calif.

One device, code-named Manhattan, includes a keyboard for text input and a button that launches Short Message Service messages. The other, code-named Shea, will use Palms Grafitti handwriting recognition program. The cover of each device includes a speaker, flipping up to act as the earpiece for the device, which includes browser and phone capabilities similar to those of Handsprings VisorPhone module, according to documents on the FCC site.

Palms future wireless handheld, the i705, includes the ability to access corporate e-mail, similar to Research In Motion Ltd.s BlackBerry device. CEO Carl Yankowski has hinted about the new device in interviews and keynote speeches throughout the year.

Earlier this year, Palm, of Santa Clara, Calif., had to slash prices on existing products because consumers were awaiting the m505 handheld and werent buying the products that were already on the market.

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