Jeff Hawkins unveiled the Palm Foleo, a $499 Linux appliance with a full-sized keyboard, screen, no drives, 5-hour battery life, and a set of modest applications, minus a calendar, for reading email and attachments (using DataViz software) from cell phones, currently Palm OS and Windows Mobile OS. Rafe Needleman was sitting next to me during the demo and has more details at Webware. Hawkins said he plans to work with RIM (Blackberry) and other providers as well as software developers to build out the platform. It has a browser, based on Opera, but doesn't deal with video. Hawkins said this first interation is too underpowered for video. The Foleo is slated to ship this summer. It looks overpriced for an email reader and lacking in key features, like video play and a calendar. Hawkins was clear not position the Foleo as a laptop, but as a mobile companion for billions of cell phone users for whom the phone is their personal computer.
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