Palm Foleo: reminds me of Windows Smart Displays

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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."

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