The Palm Foleo: What exactly is this thing?

Yesterday we brought you a breaking news story: Palm founder Jeff Hawkins had just announced the Palm Foleo on stage, ending months of speculation that Palm was secretly developing a UMPC. So, uh, what exactly is this thing? Palm says that it was designed for “productivity-minded business people who want a more complete mobile solution for email, attachments and access to the Web,” though that doesn’t really shed much light on what the Foleo (photo) does or how it’s different from a real sub-notebook. So here are the facts, ma’am:

  • The Foleo sports a full-size keyboard, a trackpoint mouse (like the ThinkPad’s famous “nipple”), a scroll wheel, a 10-inch, 1024×600 screen, 256MB of RAM, a USB port, Bluetooth and built-in WiFi.
  • The device’s onboard storage is flash memory (the Foleo will ship with an as-yet unspecified amount built-in), which is expandable via CF and SD card slots.
  • The processor specs remain unknown, though it can supposedly handle some types of flash (but not the kind used for YouTube, apparently).
  • The custom Linux-based OS will run off of the device’s flash memory, allowing for “instant on, instant off” functionality.
  • The Foleo can edit Microsoft Office documents and can view web pages, images and PDF files.
  • The device will support VersaMail on Palm OS (including Pop and IMAP accounts) and Pocket Outlook on Windows Mobile devices and email syncing between the Foleo and the Palm device is automatic.
  • At present, the Foleo will only support Palm devices, though Palm has invited competitors like RIM, Apple and Nokia to work with them to embed Foleo support into  their devices.
  • The Foleo will be available this fall and will retail for $499 (after a $100 rebate).

So, it basically sounds like a laptop, eh? Palm insists that the device is email-centric and is designed primarily for enterprise email addicts who must have a larger screen and a full-sized keyboard for tapping out their memos. Wouldn’t such folks just spring for a sub-notebook, though? A “real” laptop wouldn’t need to be tethered to a Palm for wireless data access, could do a lot more than the Foleo and would probably only be a few hundred bucks more. Palm may think that this thing is “a new category of mobile device,” though if you ask me, it just looks like a cheaper, less-capable version of a laptop running Linux.

For more on the Foleo:
– see the product page
– and these hands-on impressions from Engadget and Gizmodo

More stories about Open-Source   Linux   Hardware News   Enterprise Wireless  


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

More information about formatting options

What is 12 + 23?
To combat spam, please solve the math question above.