Palm, Inc. has just formally unveiled the Foleo, the first in a class of devices it is calling Mobile Companions.
This device will be significantly larger than Palm’s handhelds and smartphones. It will have a clamshell design with a 1024-by-600-pixel, 10-inch display and a full size QWERTY keyboard.
|(view large image)|
In another departure from Palm’s typical products, the Foleo will not include a touchscreen. Instead it will be controlled with a track point, forward and back buttons, and a scroll wheel.
It will weigh 2.5 pounds, and Palm says it will offer up to 5 hours of battery life, even when using Wi-Fi .
Works with a Smartphone or Alone
Much of the time, the Foleo will work in conjunction with one of Palm’s Treo smartphones. It won’t have cellular-wireless access itself, but can be synchronized with the Treo. It will also be able to piggyback on the Treo wireless Internet connection via Bluetooth.
The Foleo will give users access to much of the same information as is on their smartphone, but will let users work with it on a larger screen and keyboard.
This device will synchronize with both this company’s Palm OS and Windows Mobile based Treos.
In addition, the Foleo will be able to synchronize its PIM information and emails with any Windows Mobile device, and Palm would like to add BlackBerry and Symbian support.
Plus, a smartphone won’t be required. The Foleo will also have Wi-Fi short-range wireless networking.
As expected, this device will run a version of the Linux operating system, and will be open to third party software. It will come bundled with the Opera web browser and a version of DataViz’s Documents To Go, allowing users to create, view and edit Microsoft Office documents.
Those wanting to use these Office documents to make presentations will be pleased to learn that the Foleo will have a VGA-out port.
However, at this point it does not appear that this device includes a Garnet compatibility layer, which means it will not ab able to run current Palm OS applications. All software for this device will have to be specially written for it, or ported from other Linux versions.
This device supports multi-tasking, but applications will take up the full screen.
Some Information Still Unknown
The Foleo will include an external SD card slot , but it won’t stop there. It won’t have a built-in hard drive, but it will sport an internal CompactFlash card slot, allowing consumers to add many gigabytes of storage.
|(view large image)|
At this point, though, Palm is not saying how much storage will be built into the device.
It also hasn’t said what processor it will use.
Jeff Hawkins, co-founder of Palm and the one who led this product’s design team, said, "Foleo is the most exciting product I have ever worked on. Smartphones will be the most prevalent personal computers on the planet, ultimately able to do everything that desktop computers can do. However, there are times when people need a large screen and full-size keyboard. As smartphones get smaller, this need increases. The Foleo completes the picture creating a mobile-computing system that sets a new standard in simplicity."
Pricing and Availability
The Foleo will cost $600, but Palm will offer a $100 rebate at its introduction.
Palm says this device will be available this summer, but does not give any more exact date. To sign up for notification about Foleo availability, visit www.palm.com/foleonotify.
- Foleo Demo 1 — "There’s a need for a large screen experience"
- Foleo Demo 2 — "The most successful and the most lucrative"
- Foleo Demo 3 — "It’s beautiful"
- Foleo Demo 4 — "It’s not a turn on, boot, start, re-start, sleep, switch."