Will Palm's Foleo sell?

Webware's Rafe Needleman has a picture of Palm's latest gadget--the Foleo, an "Internet interface appliance" at the D5 conference.My first thought: Palm just cooked up a baby Linux laptop that connects to a Treo.

Webware's Rafe Needleman has a picture of Palm's latest gadget--the Foleo, an "Internet interface appliance" at the D5 conference.

3-palm-foleo-email-and-treo.jpg
My first thought: Palm just cooked up a baby Linux laptop that connects to a Treo. Or maybe it's Palm's entry into the UMPC race.

Rafe says:

The device, at about $500, is priced closely to low-end laptops. It's a lot smaller, of course, and it has Palm software so it will likely be more robust and useful on the fly than a laptop. Also, it synchronizes data to and from a smart phone. So it's a workable companion to people who live cellphone-centric lives. There are a lot of execs like that. The thing is, most of them already have laptops.

Based on Palm's statement it appears the company is trying to walk the line of selling a new device while preserving its smart phone market share.

In a statement, Palm founder Jeff Hawkins says:

"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."

Palm also indicates the likely sales pitch:

The Foleo mobile companion has a large screen and full-size keyboard with which to view and edit email and office documents residing on a smartphone. Edits made on Foleo automatically are reflected on its paired smartphone and vice versa. Foleo and its paired smartphone stay synchronized throughout the day or at the touch of a button. This powerful combination is for productivity-minded business people who want a more complete mobile solution for email, attachments and access to the web.

And it adds the following capabilities:

  • One-button access to full-screen email
  • Instant on, instant off
  • Rapid access to various applications
  • 10-inch screen and full-size keyboard
  • Web search and browsing via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi
  • Editors for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, plus a PDF viewer
  • Compact, stylish design that fits on an airline tray table
  • Lightweight at 2.5 pounds
  • Fast, simple and intuitive navigation
  • 5-hour battery life
  • Linux OS

In other words, Palm is trying to get you to carry another gadget. Can we get a little gadget consolidation going please? If I combined the 2.5 pounds of the Foleo plus a Treo I get something just a bit lighter than a laptop. Despite some nice features the Foleo is unlikely to be a Palm savior.

More reading on the Foleo:

Treocentral.

Business 2.0: Why Foleo could be the end of Palm.