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Summary:

Netbooks are hot and are in conversations every day. The smaller form factor and focus on online web work make them easier to produce with cheaper components. Lots of companies are currently working on Google Android netbooks and there have been whispers of how great a […]

palmfoleo_350Netbooks are hot and are in conversations every day. The smaller form factor and focus on online web work make them easier to produce with cheaper components. Lots of companies are currently working on Google Android netbooks and there have been whispers of how great a WebOS-based netbook could be, even though not a single device with that OS is actually shipping yet. This obsession with netbooks and how to make a great one has me thinking that there’s no reason Palm couldn’t produce one, and right now.

Just hear me out. A netbook that is designed from the ground up to be a cloud machine could be easily produced using high-end PDA components. The main requirements would be a decent processor, very long battery life and an easy-to-use OS. Enter Palm.

Palm has already produced such a machine, the Foleo. Sure they killed it off before bringing it to market, but the darn thing was finished and working models were produced. The specs show how well the Foleo would work with WebOS with perhaps minor changes:

  • 416MHz Intel / Marvell PXA27x processor
  • Marathon 2700G graphics accelerator with video output
  • 128MB of RAM (for running applications) plus 256MB of non-volatile memory
  • Dual expansion slots (CompactFlash and SD)
  • Dual wireless (Bluetooth and WiFi support)
  • One USB port
  • 1024 by 600 pixel screen

Palm could drop that sweet TI OMAP 3 processor that they’re putting in the Pre, which would be more than enough oomph for a netbook. Maybe Palm would need to beef up the memory a bit, too, but that would be about all they’d need to tweak. They could put WebOS on the Foleo and add integrated 3G and as long as they could price it reasonably I believe they could sell a ton of these. Put some fancy integration with the Pre and I almost guarantee it. So what do you think, should Palm revive the Foleo as a netbook?

  1. ABSOLUTELY! I was so looking forward to such a device, and was ready to spend the money when Palm released the Foleo.

    I still miss the instant-on capability offered by my old Windows CE clam shell devices. It’s for taking notes, checking email, etc. The only problem with the CE devices was that they did not grow old gracefully. Too many work arounds to get it to function “just right”. Now? I use an Apple MB Air – great – lightweight, very responsive, etc. But it’s really a glorified note taker 80% of the time.

    The closest I can think of is the Celio Redfly, but I’m not really that enamored with smartphones.

    Count me for a Foleo+!

    Count me in…

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    1. turn.self.off Thursday, April 23, 2009

      heh, me to.

      i could have sworn i touched on the subject in some previos palm pre related comment…

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  2. I don’t know about this one.

    How well is the RedFly selling?

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    1. The main difference is the REDFLY cannot do anything by itself, it requires a WM phone (supported device) to work. This would work by itself just like any netbook and that’s a big difference in my book.

      The main premise is that Palm has already made the huge investment to develop the Foleo and this would give them the opportunity to recoup that investment.

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    2. Well, I’d think a lot of the Foleo development cost went into the software, so that would still be wasted. And you’re proposing changes to the hardware, so new cost.

      That’s not to say it’s not something Palm should consider… once they get the Pre out the door and some money back through the same door. But right now I don’t think they have the bandwidth/money to do it. Sad as it is.

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    3. Like the RedFly, the Foleo depended on a phone for it’s connectivity. Without connectivity I could care less about the apps that are built in, especially when they’re half baked, and for an OS that no one is going to support.

      I think the RedFly is probably a pretty good indicator of where the Foleo would have been. Palm was wise to not release it, and they’d do well to keep it that way.

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  3. Not that I don’t think this is a good idea, but who would buy one, when you can get a full Windows XP Netbook for $300 and not have to worry that your apps may or may not run on it? Netbook manufacturers found out early on that people want Windows, not Linux. I don’t see the relative value of instant-on outweighing Windows mind (and market) share, particularly when you consider how quickly most current Windows PCs come out of standby.

    Let’s face it Foleo was a great idea, poorly implemented. Palm stood by and watched the rest of the industry capitalize on the concept with cheap, light netbooks that do more.

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    1. > Netbook manufacturers found out early on that people want
      > Windows, not Linux…

      No, netbook manufacturers *forced* Windows on users (or were forced to do so by you-know-who). And because of that, they have LOST a lot of sales they could have made. Everybody loses on that deal (well, everybody except for predatory vendors).

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  4. I’m with you James. Bring it on. OS matters not a jot for notetaking. Web browsing. Not a fan of cloud computing due inconsistant web access in wonderful New Zealand. Instant on is the holy grail in mobile computing. I’m using my Vaio TX17 on Standby but it’s not up to a day’s use. A new battery would help but I keep looking at an old Windows CE HP Jornada 820 and wishing I had instant on the way that 1998 machine works.

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  5. (1) I wanted it.

    (2) I didn’t understand the haters.

    (3) I eventually got something better, from my perspective, a Raon Digital Everun Note. It boots in 5 seconds in xPUD (yes, I want Linux on my netbook, not Windows).

    So if they built it at this late date, I would not come, but only because the market is now flooded. Now it might be a minor success, then it could have been a runaway hit.

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    1. Same here. I was really excited about the Foleo, so I was so disappointed when Palm canceled.

      I had to settle for the Eee, but the Foleo II will definitely be a welcome news.

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  6. I am an iPhone junkie, but I would love a Foleo type device. There is so often a time when a phone just won’t do for composing an e-mail, or what have you and a keyboard and a screen would be needed. Foleo fit the bill. A Foleo netbook with deep hooks to the phone would be hot. (I would prefer a Foleo kind of device for my iPhone, but beggars can’t be choosers.)

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  7. Of course!! I was shocked after the netbook craze started how good idea Palm has waisted cancelling the Foleo project… Reviving it with new OS might be a great idea. I’m just worried they won’t risk dragging attention away from Pre with any other new releases. But I think they should!! :)

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  8. I never understood why people hated on the Palm Foleo so much. I really liked the idea of it, and I didn’t even own a Treo, I just wanted it as a small notebook to be used for browsing. I’m just worried that the Foleo could have been a big hit but Engadget’s open letter to Palm discouraged them from releasing it. The device was really cool and although it was a little ahead of its time and didn’t have as many features as netbooks do today I’m sure Palm would have expanded the feature base and brought it up to par with many of the other netbooks available.

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  9. MobileFernandez Thursday, April 23, 2009

    I own a smartphone and loved my Redfly when I had it. It was great and I see that it is gaining in popularity. I recently sold it in anticipation of buying the Palm Pre (still waiting…), but think it would be a natural fit. I think the Foleo, even in it’s old form (like the Redfly is currently) is a great idea. Count me in…now just release the darn thing Palm!!

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  10. I think if the Foleo was reinvented it would have to be without the 3G modem and without the expensive parts and drain on the battery but running the same OS, making a cheap, contract free consumer unit.

    I’m thinking Palms version of the iPod touch but on steroids.

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