January 09, 2001, 3:13 PM — WIRELESS INTERNET SERVICE provider YadaYada has struck a deal with PDA maker Handspring to sell a package that includes a Visor Platinum PDA, a wireless modem, and an Internet service contract.
The package costs $599, or $449 after a $150 rebate. It includes a Visor Platinum, a Novatel Minstrel S modem, and YadaYada's browser software, optimized for Palm's operating system, Version 3.5.2H. YadaYada's wireless Web browser -- in beta-test release -- allows users to access any HTML-created Web site, as well as send and receive e-mail from as many as 6 POP3 e-mail account.
Customers can also purchase the Minstrel modem by itself for $299, or $149 after the $150 rebate. Buyers are eligible for the rebate only if they sign up for six months of YadaYada wireless Web access service at $39.95 a month, said Sarah Grossman, the company's director of communications.
YadaYada competes with rival wireless service provider OmniSky. Both companies sell identical Novatel Wireless hardware. An OmniSky modem costs $299, but OmniSky offers a $200 rebate with a six-month service contract at $39.95 a month.
Essentially, a buyer of the YadaYada package would spend $50 extra for Birmingham, Ala.-based YadaYada's browser. It supports frames while Palo Alto, Calif.-based OmniSky's does not. OmniSky's browser largely depends on Web pages optimized for wireless Web surfing, whereas YadaYada's does not.
Software, however, improves rapidly these days. The extra $50 is a bet for consumers to make on whether or not OmniSky's browser will improve before the service contract is up.
George A. Chidi Jr. is a Boston-based correspondent for the IDG News Service, an InfoWorld affiliate.