Gearlog Foleo Hands-On
Palm showed off their Linux-powered mini-laptop, the Foleo, at the press preview for our Digital Life trade show today, and we got a few minutes to manhandle the little thing. Good news for Palm: if they can get over their silly obsession with calling it "not a laptop," they have a potentially impressive product on their hands.The Foleo has a bit of heft at just over 2 pounds, but it didn't feel all that heavy - it definitely would have taken a weight off my back if it replaced my IBM Thinkpad T40. The customized, Linux-based interface is very simple and very responsive. There's actually no application launcher or "home screen," just an application menu that you pop down by using a dedicated "Apps" key; you navigate around using a little eraser-head-like touchpoint device in the middle of the keyboard. Click near the top of the screen, and application menus appear. It's all the laptop experience you like, with none of the annoying slowdowns you hate. If Palm plays their cards right, yes, they could replace laptops in a lot of situations.
We managed to scope out a few unpublished specs in our meeting, though they're nothing too surprising: the Foleo has 128 MB of RAM (though you can expand that with both SD -- but not SDHC -- and CompactFlash cards) and an Intel (isn't it Marvell now?) XScale ARM-based processor. We couldn't find the processor speed. Palm is also coy about the variant of Linux they're using; all we squeezed out of the terminal was "ARM-unknown-linux-gnu," but I'm no Linux geek.