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- fica documents hollywoodbets email AdvertisementLG G5 Review: A Timid Attempt to Put the Gadget Back in SmartphonesThey say you can鈥檛 have your cake and eat it too, but when it comes to smartphones, consumers want鈥?/p>Read moreThe founders of Palm, Inc., and the Palm Pilot鈥檚 creators鈥擩eff Hawkins, Donna Dubinsky, and Ed Colligan鈥攕oon left 3Com. But instead of going off and starting new ventures, the trio decided to reinvent the PalmPilot and compete with the device they had invented a few years prior. In 1998, they founded Handspring, Inc., and soon after that, the company introduced the Visor.AdvertisementAdvertisementPDA makers were always generous with buttons, providing shortcuts to a device鈥檚 most commonly used apps.Photo: Andrew Liszewski (Gizmodo)The Handspring Visor鈥檚 most interesting feature was a Game Boy-like cartridge slot that expanded its functionality. Unfortunately, they weren鈥檛 a large number of modules to choose from.Photo: Andrew Liszewski (Gizmodo)An advanced calculator option was just one of many special features of the Visor鈥檚 customized version of Palm OS.Photo: Andrew Liszewski (Gizmodo)A USB-connected dock made syncing the Handspring Visor to a computer much faster than Palm鈥檚 PDAs could.Photo: Andrew Liszewski (Gizmodo)AdvertisementYou can skip ad after 1 secondYou can go to the next slide after 1 secondContinueThere鈥檚 no rechargeable battery here. The Visor ran for weeks on a pair of two AAA batteries that were easily replaced.Photo: Andrew Liszewski (Gizmodo) 1 / 5On a technical level, the Handspring Visor offered a few features that even more expensive PalmPilot models didn鈥檛. It ran a modified version of Palm OS that included improved functionality like a more advanced calculator and datebook, and its docking cradle used USB instead of the PalmPilot鈥檚 ancient RS232 serial port. Before wifi, syncing your PDA to your computer was the easiest way to get email on the go, and the Visor鈥檚 USB cradle made those syncs significantly faster. But the Visor鈥檚 most touted feature was its Springboard expansion slot which worked similar to Nintendo鈥檚 Game Boy. Instead of loading games, the cartridges introduced additional functionality like GPS, digital cameras, cellular capabilities, and one even turned the Visor into an MP3 player.Advertisement setTimeout(() => const adSlot = document.querySelector(.apscustom); const adFallback = document.querySelector(.ars-fallback); if (adSlot) if has been read, but theres no ad, then show the fallback if (adFallback && adSlot.offsetHeight Andrew Liszewski (Gizmodo)AdvertisementEven today, when powering up my Visor again with a pair of AAA batteries, I鈥檓 reminded why it was so appealing. I don鈥檛 have to charge it, connect it to a wifi network, agree to endless EULAs, explicitly ask it to respect my privacy, create online accounts, or dig out the passwords for countless apps. After a brief tutorial and stylus calibration, its app-filled home screen pops open in an instant. Its monochrome display looks dated, but it also looks streamlined and efficient. Apps open quickly, and I鈥檓 surprised how much Graffiti, which required users to memorize a special single-stroke alphabet for accurate handwriting recognition, I鈥檓 still able to remember. There were games available for the Visor, including staples like Solitaire, but it was never an entertainment device, and, as a result, never really a distraction. It did provide the occasional break from work, but it wasn鈥檛 constantly demanding my attention. As for those Springboard modules, I never had a chance to try them out. The MP3 player cartridge was tempting, but I went with the pricier iPod, which offered loads more storage, and I wasn鈥檛 alone. The expansion modules were an innovative idea, but it was one feature that never really caught on with consumers.AdvertisementSo what happened to Handspring? The company released several models of the Visor over the span of a few years, including pricier models with full-color LCDs. In 2002, it introduced the Handspring Treo, one of the first smartphones that integrated a cellphone and a PDA into a single device. It was also the first Handspring product to omit the Springboard expansion slot, as by that point most of the added functionality could be integrated into the device itself. The company was facing stiff competition from 3Com at that point, who had spun Palm back off into its own company, as well as from companies like Nokia and Sony Ericsson whose cellphones had finally gained comparable PDA features. In a weird twist to the story, Handspring eventually merged with Palm, Inc.鈥檚 hardware division in 2003.In the years following, the smartphone slowly evolved through weird and innovative iterations as companies strived to find a device that could appeal to a broad audience. As with countless other portable devices, the final nail in the coffin came on June 29, 2007, when Apple鈥檚 original iPhone went on sale. The PDA officially died that day, replaced by keyboard-less touchscreen devices that have conquered the world over the last decade. Could I survive with just a Handspring Visor in my pocket today? Not a chance, as modern smartphones offer loads of genuinely useful functionality that鈥檚 all but essential now. But occasionally pulling it out of the closet lets me fondly remember a time when we were all a little less connected.