05. 30. 2007
Palm Foleo - the mobile "companion"
I'm unapologetically a Palm lover. Despite the death knell that has been clanging for years now about the aging OS and clunky hardware, I've been a faithful Treo user for years and years. That's why I was so hopeful when I heard about the "major major" announcement of a new Palm device. I had dreams of a total iPhone killer- something with onboard GPS, a super-slim form factor, with amazing media player features.
See the picture above? The new Palm Foleo isn't the Treo in the photo, something that might be beautiful and sleek and ready to jump out of the dark shadows of that photo to show off its almost paper thin silhouette. No, it's the device, looking much like a stripped-down laptop, that's next to the Treo. It is, in fact, a stripped down laptop, running Linux, which is kind of puzzlingly being deemed a "smartphone companion." It seems to me sort of akin to giving a little baby a blue whale as a pet. It is aimed at being the go-between of phone and computer - providing a bigger screen and full-size keyboard, but really not all that much else. At 2.5 lbs, the Foleo is bigger than some ultra portables which have an optical drive built-in.
The advantages over a standard notebook computer? It powers on and off instantly. Hmm. I'm actually at a loss as to what else. Even though a companion device brings to mind something smaller which adds a bit of functionality, the Foleo is pretty much crippled without a smartphone, it's just a big, fat, kind of dumb companion. It has connectivity options: wifi, but not WWAN, although there is a bluetooth connection so you can connect to your phone's data connection.
The Foleo grabs the documents and email from your phone- but has limited ability even to create new documents. It's a larger screen (10") and a bigger keyboard for your phone, making the Treo go from about 5 oz. to just under 3 lbs. without doing very much else.
I'm really scratching my head over this one. And I love Palm. Love. I've been resisting the move to faster, sleeker phones because I had faith: Palm would pull one out that would surprise us all. And they did, but not in a good way.
The Foleo will be available this summer for $599, but early purchasers will be eligible for a $100 mail-in rebate (yay, who doesn't love a mail-in rebate- it really is like it's $100 cheaper, only 11 months later when your device is already outdated and you have to buy a new one).