Sell your stock yet?
Once the shining pioneer that took Apple's idea of mobile computing and scaled it to fit in your pocket, now the company that can't seem to figure out what they make or who they are. This week they announced their stellar new product, the Foleo fake laptop.
Seriously...this is a joke, right?
Let's take a look at Palm for a second...
After revolutionizing the mobile computing business by introducing the Palm Pilot, somewhere along the line they start to get complacent and create crap devices. Along comes Handspring to teach them a thing or two about innovation, and their answer to that was to simply acquire the company they couldn't "out think."
Then, to compete with the threat of Microsoft, they decide to split the hardware and software divisions into two companies. I knew that was a mistake right there.
When that doesn't seem to be a winning strategy and they lose an enormous amount of market share to the folks in Redmond...they decide to buy the software company back. During this time they also release products that license the Windows Mobile OS... conceding that if you can't beat em...join em. Of course this is after they dominated their market and did nothing to stop the defection from their platform to MS besides releasing a string of boring devices...tons and tons of them.
Now Palm (the company I haven't thought of in 4 years) decides they want to be relevant again and they release a new type of product...a mid point between your laptop and your smartphone...the Foleo mobile companion, a hybrid device that is bigger than a phone but smaller than a full-sized laptop...for only $499.
All I gotta say is...WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!
I have great respect for Jeff Hawkins (founder of Palm). He certainly isn't responsible for Palm's missteps in the past. It was his vision that created Palm, then led to Handspring, and later the Treo. But this new device he's pitching could not be more off base from what people really want or need. Yeah...sometimes you do want a full keyboard or screen...but are you really going to spend that much money to supplement your phone? That's what laptops are for and anyone who already has a laptop doesn't need a Foleo. Business travelers are not going to reach for their Foleo over their laptop.
I don't want to be harsh...but this thing is just plain stoooopid!
This feels like a solution in need of a problem.
Palm has clearly lost it's way and my prediction is that this company is done. When you look at the fact that MS scooped up most of Palm's market share, the Blackberry is becoming more and more compelling for Treo users, and the iPhone is going to capture a lot of consumer attention...I don't see Palm being relevant anymore...especially with products like this.
Farewell Palm...you'll be an interesting footnote in the annals of tech history as the Foleo becomes your swan song.