Handheld computer maker Handspring, whose devices look and work like Palm devices, plans to expand into Europe following similar moves into Asia.
The firm, which was set up by Palm co-founders, Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky, plans to open customer support operations in the Netherlands, marketing offices in the UK and Germany, and Handspring International SARL in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dubinsky, the company's chief executive, said: "We've built out the company's infrastructure to keep up with demand and have gotten a lot of the logistics and customer support stuff under control."
She added: "We want to be a leader on a global basis. I've always had the philosophy that you have to have a strong international business, and there's no doubt that it is a huge opportunity for us."
Dataquest expects demand for handheld computers to grow from 8.2 million units in 1998 to 32.5 million units by 2003, resulting in a $7.2bn marketplace.
Despite this, Palm's spin-off from 3Com earned negative reviews in the fourth quarter of 1999 because of problems fulfilling orders and its inability to keep up with market demand for its devices.
Handspring launched its first handheld product line, Visor, last autumn. It licensed Palm's operating system and created a device that looks and works like a Palm unit, but has an additional expansion slot called Springboard to insert keyboards and other peripherals.
The company said it plans to introduce a localised Japanese version of Visor by next quarter and also hopes to enter other Asian markets such as Korea and China, although plans for localised versions for these countries have not yet been finalised.
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