Palm Foleo: reminds me of Windows Smart Displays

15 Comments

Palm_foleo_2

The speculation on Palm’s new device has come to an end now that Palm.com is highlighting the new Palm Foleo. The $499 device (after $100 rebate) looks to be a small 10-inch laptop with keyboard, but looks are deceiving. The Foleo is actually an extension to your Palm Treo smartphone: the two devices are connected via Bluetooth to provide you all of your smartphone data on a larger screen with an attached full-sized keyboard.

Since the Foleo isn’t a full or heavy OS-laden computer, it provides the advantage of "Instant On" capabilities. I see it a nice way to view and interact with your Palm data or use with your phone’s connection to browse the web on a larger screen for up to five hours on a battery charge. Additionally, you can use it to browse pictures, provide presentations and more. Be sure to check out Palm’s site for the full presentation; definitely is reminscient of the Microsoft Windows Smart Displays that might have been ahead of their time. My initial thought: very innovative and it will appeal to Palm Treo owners. Will it appeal to the UMPC market? The keyboard is there, but the computing power and the inability to run a multitude of every Windows apps leads me to a limited UMPC audience. Thoughts?

Update: based on the official press release, there’s some additional useful info since the presentation is light on specs:

"Although designed primarily as a companion to a mobile phone, Foleo isa powerful computer on its own. Its Linux-based operating system andbuilt-in Wi-Fi radio make it easy for developers to create newapplications that can be installed with a single click in the browser.The Foleo has a USB port, video-out port, headphone jack, and slots forSD and compact flash cards for memory expansion. This combination ofcapabilities in a low-cost design is new in the industry. Palm hasopened its design and is actively supporting third-party softwaredevelopers."

15 Comments

Demetri

Very interesting device. I would like to see it also have a touch screen with a hinge that allowed it to be converted into slate mode. That would be the companion computing device I have been waiting for since the whole origami project.

I think that if it had a touch screen with a hinge that allowed it to convert to slate mode, this could be the step that has been missing to get other computer users to see the value and adopt tablet pcs.

I agree with Matt that the Foleo could compete with the Internet tablet.

ldrn

I want one very badly, more so if it works with my Q. But, with my UX180P at X60 Tablet… I really don’t need one.

Still, I would want one. 6 hour battery life, linux, and perfect phone integration? It sounds like it was made to fit my needs; I tend to use both of the above with Firefox, Xchat, Pidgin, and OpenOffice, and the Foleo would do that perfectly.

Unfortunately, it came a little too late. Still, I wish Palm the best of luck, and I’ve never owned a Palm machine before.

Joshua A Hall

I have a Fujitsu P1120. It is a sub Notebook. The Fujitsu P1510 Replaced it & James Fujitsu P1610 is the latest incarnation of the device. I like mine alot. The machine has a transmeta processor, so it slow, but I installed windows 2000 on it and help alot with speed. I can run full Office, and many applications. I use a Sprint card for Internet connection. I replaced the standard IDE 2.5″ Hard drive with a ide to compact flash adapter 8 gb. Windows 2000 is small compared to xp and certainly vista. It runs completely silent. Does not get hot at all. All in all I am happy with my device. I don’t use alot of programs but the foleo has cought my eye. I like palm devices. I have a treo 600. I sent James a link to an articel about a decive just like this one. A useable keyboard slim and light weight. I think it is great that they are using linux. Instant on and ability to port most application to it. Only problem will be if the developers bite.

JKK

I think it’s not for us ( mobile computing guys )
.. but for people who need just the email on bigger screen without the hasle of full os.

I will buy one for my father immediately. He just needs easy access to emails when traveling and don’t wan’t to read them from small screen.

Muliadi Jeo

The only appealing factor to me is the price point. Otherwise, you can easily get much more better subnotebook that can do all. For example, Panasonic R6 can easily beats the spec: 10 inches screen, 8 hours battery life, 2.0 lb, core2duo processor. Of course with R6 you have to spend $1500 more but why do you need mobile companion if you can have full laptop?

Ctitanic

That´s a shame. They have just presented a subnotebook with linux installed. That´s all. What a shame. This company has came from been a leader on innovation to be the worse company in the industry.

Brian Hollar

Some thoughts I just posted on my blog:

I can definitely see where something like this could be useful and the instant-on feature is nice, but this doesn’t look much more powerful than the HP Jornada 820 I bought back in 1998 before my first business trip to Japan. The Jornada was a similar weight and size, had instant-on, and a much more impressive battery life. (If I recall correctly, I used to get 8-10 hours of juice out of it.) Granted, that was in the days before wi-fi and cellular data connections, but otherwise it was a fairly comparable machine.

I think Palm is really missing the boat on two fronts — no touchscreen and no ability to use this in a “slate” mode. Nearly all UMPC’s have that feature, they are dropping in price, have full-blown windows, comparable weight, increasing battery life, and falling prices. Combine that with internal cellular connections, hard drives, USB, VGA out, etc. I don’t think the Foleo is going to have widespread adoption — particularly considering it doesn’t have full functionality without the additionaly purchase of a smartphone. UMPCs have full-functionality on their own. (I would much rather spend my money on the forthcoming HTC Shift or Samsung Q1 Ultra.)

That’s not to say I think the Foleo is useless (it would probably work very well as a note-taking device for students), but I think Palm is continuing to make slow, tiny, incremental innovations while the rest of the computer industry is blazing ahead at warp speed.

Matthew Miller

The 1024 x 600 display seems about right for this sized device too. It is just under 2.5 pounds so heavier than most UMPCs, but lighter than laptops. I’ll definitely have to check one out and think it may be perfect for all those people who just use email and the internet on their computer, like my mom.

Kevin C. Tofel

Thanks Matt; I just updated the post as you were leaving your comment because I found the official press release and added a link. Running Linux and offering integrated WiFi makes it not just a companion device, but a standalone one as well. Interesting!

Matthew Miller

Kevin,

The device actually has integrated WiFi as well so no smartphone is required. The Palm press release states that it works with Palm OS and Windows Mobile Treos and should work fine with other Windows Mobile devices as well. The release also states that Symbian and RIM support should be fairly easy for a developer to implement with the open Linux architecture.

I find the Foleo very interesting because it is a LOT like the Nokia Internet Tablets (770/N800), but with a larger 10 inch display and integrated keyboard for US$100 more. If developers are able to add functionality like a media player and more then I think I am sold. This may be what I was saving up my gadget cash for and I’ll probably be one of the first to buy one when they become available this summer.

Keith Amodt

We created the Jupiter class of device, that ran Windowa CE, 10 years ago at Microsoft. I am amazed that Hawkins borrowed so many of my ideas after all this time. It’s too bad they couldn’t come up with something more original.

Michael Venini

So it’s a smartphone with a dumbcomputer…

That’s didn’t come out the right way.

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