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Modules Within Sight

Mon Aug 21, 2000 - 11:05 PM EDT - By James Hromadka

Where are the modules

Set your sights on the Springboard modulesA burning question that many Visor owners have today is, "Where are all the modules?"  Although the Visor has been out almost a year, there are less than fifteen non-eBook Springboard modules currently available, while announced modules keep slipping past release dates.  What's going on?

Two words -- component shortage.  Almost every electronics maker is feeling the effects of a global economy where the demand for parts like LCD screens, flash memory and capacitors, is far greater than the supply.

Executives at AMD have said that back orders for flash memory have already been sold out through 2001 .  Between component shortages and Taiwanese earthquakes, it seems like no electronic manufacturers are safe anymore.

Major PC makers, such as IBM and Dell, are forcasting lower profits because of these shortages.  Leading cellular phone makers Motorola, Nokia, and Ericsson will be manufacturing fewer phones this year, with Ericsson garnering a huge loss in its cell phone division.  Palm's sales plummeted during the second quarter because of a combination of component shortages and the increasing success of the Handspring Visor. 

Handspring So far, Handspring appears to have been immune to these component shortages. However, while the Visor is now easy to find on store shelves, shipping dates on many announced Springboard modules keep on slipping.  "Flash memory shortage is something the entire industry could be facing for the next 12-18 months," said  Lee Epting, Handspring's Director of Partner Programs & Business Development.  "Regardless, we are commited to helping our development partners get their products to market.  We are assessing the monthly requirements of our Springboard developers and building those into our own forecasts for the flash manufacturers. In some cases, we will take flash we have in supply at Handspring and allocate it to our partners to help enable them to get to market sooner."

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