Handheld device maker Handspring has moved into new territory as it launched its PDA (personal digital assistant)-cum-phone, Treo, in Hong Kong yesterday.

Hong Kong is the first country in the world to have Treo available on the shelves. Singapore will follow soon after, even though Handspring has already made public deals with service providers in Europe and has introduced the product there, Handspring officials said.

The Treo 180, with monochrome display, will retail at around £380 plus VAT in Hong Kong, which is roughly in line our previous predictions when the product was first kicked out.

Although the Treo is pricey compared to regular PDAs or mobile phones, Handspring believes that the product's phone/PDA 'crossover functions' are good enough to make users fork out the cash.

At the same time, Treo has been criticised by some in the industry for not having an expansion slot for Flash memory cards such as Secure Digital or Multimedia Card, or an expandable Springboard platform, which had initially made Handspring handhelds attractive to users. This is supposedly to keep weight to a minimum — something very important in selling phones.