Monday, November 2, 2009

Is the Time Right for a Palm webOS Foleo?

I've been thinking a lot about Palm's discontinued Foleo mobile companion lately. It was two years ago, this past September, that Palm chose to discontinue the Foleo so that the company could focus their energy on the development of the Palm Pre and their new mobile operating system, Palm webOS. Looking forward, one has to wonder whether or not Palm will go back and redesign the Foleo for use with Palm webOS.

The Foleo was conceived by Jeff Hawkins, the father of the Palm Pilot. The Foleo was to be a "mobile companion" for Palm's Treo line of smartphones; specifically the Windows Mobile Treo 750 and the Palm OS Treo 755p. Palm had signaled that the Foleo could be opened up to support other smartphones, including the BlackBerry, at some later date after it's initial release. Unlike the Treo smartphones it was designed to work with, the Foleo was to run a completely new OS, simply called Foleo OS; meaning that Palm and their third-party developers would have to support three discrete mobile operating systems (Palm OS, Windows Mobile, Foleo OS). As you might have guessed, for such a small company, developing and maintaining three operating systems is not a position you would want to be in.

With the Foleo practically ancient history in the mobile computing field, why bring it up now? The answer is because Palm has made some changes to their mobile operating system line up. Palm has stated that they will no longer be releasing devices running Palm OS or Microsoft's Windows Mobile. That leaves Palm with only their latest software platform, Palm webOS, to be used with new products. Since Palm webOS is based on a Linux kernel, and uses web technologies for displaying the user interface, Palm's new platform could be used to drive a number of devices; not just smartphones.

From the beginning, I always thought that the Foleo's hardware was solid and well though out. I had a chance to play with the Foleo during one of Palm's sneak peek events. The hardware felt sturdy and up to to the challenges of day-to-day bumps and knocks. The Foleo had a bright 10-inch screen and a full size keyboard that I was able to touch type on. It also featured flash memory storage and a SDHC card slot for memory expansion. USB, video, and audio out ports rounded out the hardware. Comparing it to an Acer Eee PC or a Dell Mini 9, the Foleo's hardware just felt better. (To be fair, the Foleo was to be almost twice as expensive than the Eee PC. Cost drives the quality of build materials. Cost vs. function is one of the main reasons why Apple choses to not release a Mac OS X netbook.)

So that brings us back to software. In 2007, Foleo OS didn't make sense for a small company trying to contain their software development and support costs. In 2009, Palm has decided to focus their efforts around Palm webOS. A Palm netbook, powered by webOS, which has the ability to synchronize data and applications with Palm's other webOS devices, the Pre and Pixi smartphones, could be a much more powerful device than the original Foleo.

In conclusion, a new Palm Foleo would have several advantages to it. First is that it would run the same mobile operating system as Palm's smartphones. This would benefit both Palm and third-party developers since there would only be the one OS to write applications for. Secondly, in my opinion, the original Foleo hardware was well designed, and with some tweaks to the processor, memory, and video systems, would be up to the tasks expected of any of today’s netbooks. Lastly, the new management team at Palm is much better at product execution than the management team that was leading the company in 2007.

How about it Foleo Fanatics? With all the changes that have taken place at Palm since the fall of 2007, does it make sense for Palm to take another look at the Foleo? Leave your comments below.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

More On a Possible "Foleo II" Device

While looking for more information on the rumor from this past weekend that Palm might be mulling over their options on releasing a redesigned Foleo running Palm webOS, I found this interesting article over on JKOnTheRun.com. Mr. Kendrick writes:
"Lots of companies are currently working on Google Android netbooks and there have been whispers of how great a WebOS-based netbook could be, even though not a single device with that OS is actually shipping yet. This obsession with netbooks and how to make a great one has me thinking that there’s no reason Palm couldn’t produce one, and right now.

Just hear me out. A netbook that is designed from the ground up to be a cloud machine could be easily produced using high-end PDA components. The main requirements would be a decent processor, very long battery life and an easy-to-use OS. Enter Palm."
I think that this is a really cool idea. I've been using a Dell Mini 9 since late November (2008) and I have mixed feeling about it. Yes, it is light and super portable. I liked the Foleo's exterior finishing better than the glossy lid on Dell's netbooks. I also like the fact that I can run Windows XP on the Dell netbook, but with only about 2.5 hours of battery life, I'm not going too far without my AC adapter. (I often can't go to a full morning's or afternoon's worth of meetings without having to break out the charger. Ugh!) There are only a handful of applications that I use my Dell Mini 9 for: note taking and word processing in Microsoft Word 2003; checking my email in Microsoft Outlook 2003 (I do have access to corporate email via a web mail portal but I prefer Outlook or my BlackBerry); calendaring; and web surfing with FireFox or Internet Explorer.

Now, here comes Palm with a "Foleo re-mix" taking the best concepts of the Foleo and combining it with the flexibility of Palm's new webOS platform, and you can have an ultra-portable device that can easily provide the kinds of features I'm looking for (word processing, email, calendaring, and web browsing) in a device that can run at least 8 hours with the screen set to a reasonable brightness level with Wi-Fi enabled. That would be a perfect device for me.

You can bet I'll be keeping a close eye on this rumor as we continue to move through th rest of the year.

You can read the full JKOnTheRun.com article here...

[Photo credit: JKOnTheRun.com]

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Rumor: The Foleo to Become a webOS Netbook

Calling all Foleo Fanatics! I just read an interesting post over on Palm InfoCenter that was posted by Ryan.
"Rumor: Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with Global Equities Research, asserts in a note to clients today (via Tech Trader Daily) that Palm intends to produce a $399 netbook that will run WebOS. The speculation is not without precedent as Palm has stated on numerous occasions that the WebOS will power a family of products and has said in the past that a Foleo followup is not out of the question.

Chowdhry is saying that the device will basically be a revised version of the Foleo and will be powered by an ARM chipset and will use a Gobi 3G wireless chip from Qualcomm for an estimated 8-10 hour battery life. He says the project is being designed by three ex-Apple iPod guys."
Shortly after the Foleo was canceled, company officials indicated that the Foleo might return one day in the future. Here is to hoping that day has gotten a little closer.

[Via PalmInfocenter.com...]

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Jeff Hawkins Talks About the Foleo















Palm founder, Jeff Hawkins, spent some time talking about the Foleo with Patrick Seitz of Investor's Business Daily.

The Q&A with Hawkins was originally published as a sidebar to a larger article discussing the growing popularity of the "netbook", a small form factor notebook computer designed to ultra portable providing easy access to the web, email, and writing. Palm chose to cancel the Foleo in September of 2007 to focus on rewriting the aging Palm OS mobile operating systems that powers many of the company's most popular smartphones, including the consumer-oriented Centro.

The following is an excerpt from the Investor's Business Daily interview with Mr. Hawkins:
"IBD: Why didn't Palm have the confidence in Foleo to go forward?

Hawkins: I don't think that Palm didn't have confidence in it. Palm has its issues and challenges. At the time, they were in the process of closing this major financing, restructuring deal with Elevation Partners.

And as part of that deal, they brought in Jon Rubenstein, who's a great guy. He was at Apple (AAPL) and did all the iPod stuff. He came in basically to take over product stuff, because I really hadn't been running the product design center at Palm for several years. They came in with a particular strategy that they wanted to pursue at Palm, and that strategy didn't have room for Foleo.

It was clear Foleo had technical issues. It was a first-generation product. We'd have to launch it and then do another gen within a year. And that's a big commitment of people and dollars.

It was a strategic decision to pursue a different approach. I don't think they made a mistake. We haven't seen the outcome of that decision yet. It really was not acrimonious at all. It was just business.

I'm a little disappointed, only because I loved the product concept. I'd really like to own one. And I'm a believer in it. And I'd love to end my design career at Palm with a success there.

They may still come back to it. They haven't totally written it off.

IBD: So you didn't get to keep a Foleo?

Hawkins: Oh, I have one. Oh, yeah, I got to keep one. I have the beta release. The hardware is very reliable. It works great."
You can read the full Hawkins Q&A here.

As many of my long time readers know, I was one of the few people who did get to play with a pre-production Foleo. It really was a great idea. At the end of the day, I didn't care that it wasn't running a Linux varient or Microsoft's Windows XP. I wanted a light-weight device that looked great and offered long battery life with easy access to the web, email, and an office suite. (DataViz provided a Foleo specific version of their award-winning Documents To Go application.)

However, the Foleo, as originally designed, was not a stand along computer. It needed to be tethered to a Palm OS or Windows Mobile smartphone and, as discussed in the article, the Wind River Linux operating system and core applications were not ready to go live. I'm looking forward to 2009 when Pam OS II/Nova smartphones are shipping because if Palm does decided to do a new Foleo, the Nova opertaing system will likely be the foundation for such a device.

Read the full Investor's Business Daily interview...

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Stung by the Still "Missing" Foleo

It has been about 9 months since Palm canceled the Foleo Mobile Companion, and yet there are still traces of it to be found online.

I was over on the TealPoint website looking for more information about their TealSafe application and then I found this page, which reminded me that the Foleo is still MIA. If you scroll down, you can still see a list of the software that Teal was working on for the Foleo; 9 titles in all.

I really can't wait until Palm gets the Foleo II out the door loaded up with Palm OS II.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Happy Anniversary Foleo Fanatics!












This week, Foleo Fanatics turns 1! It has been an interesting year, to be sure. Since we started up the site, we have watched Palm launch the Treo 755p, the Treo 750, the Treo 500, and the wildly popular consumer oriented Centro smartphone!

We also watched as Palm launched their MyPalm.com portal as a beta program to provide Palm smartphone customers with free, 24/7 technical support, software alerts and updates, how-to videos. Palm also introduced us to their new self-paced learning site which has been designed to help smartphone owners new and old learn more about their devices.

However, it hasn't been all good times. In September 2007, we stood by as Palm canceled the Foleo Mobile Companion, and we found out that it would be another year before Palm's Linux-based operating system, Palm OS II/Nova would appear on new hardware.

Even with the cancellation of the Foleo, there are things to look forward to. Palm has partnered with private equity firm Elevation Partners to help revitalize the company and help them to deliver on crisp product execution. The Centro was the first device that has come to market after this partnership. The much rumored Treo 800w and Treo 850 will be the second and third. And speaking of the new Treo smartphones, Palm has been working to redesign the Treo form factor as something that is functional and more in line with other contemporary smartphones. The biggest things that readers of Foleo Fanatics are getting excited about is the completion of Palm's next-generation Linux-based operating system, Palm OS II/Nova and the possibility of a new Foleo.

Palm OS II/Nova is going to be the successor to Palm OS 5 which is running on today's Palm smartphones and traditional handheld PDAs. But Palm OS II/Nova isn't just for smartphones. Palm has said it will become a platform around which more than just smartphones will be based on. This means that any new Foleo or Foleo-like device will be running this new OS platform.

Happy Anniversary fellow Foleo Fanatics! Here's to another year of news and analysis of all things Palm!

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Colligan Talks Palm OS II, Foleo II

APC.com, the digital extension of APC Magazine, published an article online yesterday about Palm, their upcoming Linux operating system, and a glimmer of hope for another run at the Foleo.

Of the new Linux-based successor to the current version of Palm OS, APC writes:

"...Colligan calls it “Palm OS” and later “Palm 2.0”, both times his fingers drawing quotation marks in the air as he speaks. Palm 2.0, as in Web 2.0, although he makes it clear that “I’m not coming up with the branding right now – whether it’s Palm OS 2.0 or Next Generation, we’re not coming up with the branding right now. But this is something different to this” he says, pointing to the Centro.

Colligan speaks of this as being a “next-generation operating system with much more capabilities, driven around the Internet and Web-based applications”. It reminds us of a very modern take on the original OS, as well as a revisiting of the strategy which saw Palm create everything from the OS to the handhelds. It worked fine for Palm in the early days, and it’s working pretty well for Apple too.

“We’re focused on executing our own system, mostly because we really believe that to create the most compelling solution it should be an integrated package much like we started with the Palm OS and doing the original Palm Pilots: we did the operating system, we did the hardware and we did the whole synching architecture and the desktop tie-in, which is equivalent to the Web these days. One of the things we wanted to do is to make sure that we had an end-to-end solution we really controlled and could deliver the end-user experience we want to deliver. We think it’s going to be stunning and breakthrough in its execution, and we’re working on some very exciting new devices to go with it”.

But APC wasn't just going to ask Mr. Colligan about Palm OS II. They also asked about the possibility of a future Foleo product that Colligan alluded to some months ago in his notice to the Palm user community that the original Foleo project was being canceled. APC writes:

Not all of those [Palm OS 2.0] devices will be smartphones. While Colligan axed the much-maligned Foleo ‘mobile companion’ notebook, he admits the concept (if not the brand) could make a comeback.

“I still believe the idea will be vindicated some day. But the core decision behind that product cancellation was really driven by that we were developing this whole new operating system that is going to bring a new user experience, (but the Foleo) had been started under a different design centre, a different thought process and a different set of system software. I really want there to be one Palm user experience, and so we’ll come back around to that idea when we’re done delivering that experience”.

Indeed, when Colligan canned the Foleo just short of the product’s debut in September 2007, he said noted that he was cancelling “the Foleo mobile companion product in its current configuration” and reiterated that “the market category defined by Foleo has enormous potential. When we do Foleo II it will be based on our new platform, and we think it will deliver on the promise of this new category.”


These are encouraging remarks from Palm's skipper. I am, as many of you are also, looking forward to new devices built around Palm's new Palm OS II operating system.

Read the full APC.com article here...

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Asus Eee PC 2GB Up Close

On a recent trip to the local discount warehouse shopping club, my junior podcaster Meghan and I ran across a real Asus Eee PC 2GB sub-notebook in the electronics section. (I did have to fight the strong buy impulse. If there was a 4GB version in the store for less than $100 more, I probably would have purchased that unit on the spot. Don't let anyone tell you price isn't a factor. Availability, or unavailability in this case, was a bigger factor.)















This was the first time I've seen an Eee PC in the "wild" and was rather shocked by it. I was caught of guard by how small the device really was. I know that 7-inches isn't much smaller than 10-inches, but the Eee PC looked small. As you can see from the photo, if I had both hands on the keyboard, things were going to get a bit cramped. The other thing that I noticed right off the bat was how cheaply made the keys felt. You have to keep in mind that there has to be some trade offs with a $299 sub-notebook. (I must admit that I don't know if this was a real unit or just a display unit.) I was really hoping to see and play with the Linux OS that was installed on this device. Regrettably, the unit was not charged up or plugged into a power source.
















One of the things that I really do like about these ultra portables sub-notebooks is that they are considerably smaller than regular notebook computers. In meetings, I don't like to use my 15-inch Dell Latitude because I feel that it creates a barrier between myself and the other attendees. With sub-notebook machines, you can still get the utility of a notebook computer for taking notes and minutes in the meeting without creating an "us and them" atmosphere.
















I've pretty much have come to the conclusion that IR and Bluetooth keyboards used in conjunction with my Palm Treo 755p just isn't working for me any longer. Alignment and connection issues with the keyboards and Palm OS devices make the solution too time consuming to be useful in a meeting with my peers and customers. An elegant instant on and get down to work device fits my current work style much better.

Last summer I was really spoiled by what I saw in a pre-release version of the Palm Foleo mobile companion. These new crop of sub-notebook computers, of which the Asus Eee PC is one, have really come close to capturing what I though was so special about the Foleo (size, design, ease of use, options, and battery life). I will be interested in seeing a live 9-inch Eee PC when they arrive here in the United States later this year. I'm also interested in seeing how well the rumored HP Compaq 3122 to my memory of the Foleo and the Eee PC.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Should I get the Asus Eee PC?



In the discussion thread for a recent 1SRC Editorial, My Mobile Companion, a few readers asked why I still pine for a Palm Foleo and not just get an Asus Eee PC?

The long and short of it is that I'm just not convinced about the software. Yes, I know that I can run Windows XP or Vista on it, but I'll have to purchase a new license, and that will drive up the costs.

I like the idea of this form factor. But I'm just not sure about the software. My main use for a Treo and a keyboard, or the Foleo, was the ability to use DataViz Documents To Go for notes and document creation and editing. If I had Windows and Office (another license I'll need to buy, further driving up the cost of a Eee PC) I could do all of the same tasks as a Treo and keyboard or the Foleo.

I guess it all really comes down to personal choice.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Palm Foleo Makes Popular Mechanics 10 Worst List















Popular Mechanics has released their Top 10 Worst Gadgets list for 2007. Coming in at number 1 is Palm's Foleo mobile companion.

Erik Sofge, writes for Popular Mechanics:

"Sometimes, a product makes a Worst of the Year list for all the wrong reasons. Take the Foleo, Palm’s perfectly reasonable attempt to revolutionize ultra-lightweight laptops. We tested this 2.4-pound computer, which ran for up to 5 hours per charge, and despite a relentless pre-release trash-talking from the tech world (mainly from bloggers who hadn’t touched the thing) we liked it.

The 10.2-in. screen and meager flash-based storage were good enough for word processing and Web surfing. Without even realizing it, we started carrying it everywhere. Within days, the tiny machine was a fixture in our dorky lives, tucked under our arms, popping open at every meeting, and drawing as many chortles as breathless questions. Like it or pity it, the Foleo was generating a buzz.

But before a single Foleo hit the shelves, Palm killed it, claiming that they needed more time to develop the Foleo 2. The bloggers won, Palm lost, and our review unit became a bizarre unreleased prequel to a product that might never exist. It wasn’t perfect, but the Foleo deserved better. "
Just for the record, I was one of the bloggers who did touch a Foleo. And I'm waiting, not too patiently I might add, for the Foleo II running Palm OS II.

Read the full Popular Mechanics article...

[Thanks to bulls96 for the tip.]

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Monday, November 19, 2007

More Foleo Photos from GearDiary

The folks at GearDiary.com continue to remind us of the canceled Palm Foleo by posting more screen shots of the Foleo's applications and operating system.















I know that many of the readers of this site are true Foleo Fanatics and that seems to also be true of the folks over at Gear Diary. Looking at the photos, specifically the first screen shot of the web browser showing the Gear Diary website, you will see the article titled "Do You Tweet?". I wanted to know how old this photo was, so I searched the site for the article, and I was surprised to see that the article "Do You Tweet?" was posted just a few days ago on November 14, 2007. Either these guys are really good at predicting the future or they have access to pre-production Foleo.

And that leave me wondering, just where are they getting their fantastic toys?

The Palm Foleo Interface via GearDiary.com...

[Thanks to my anonymous tipster who sent this in...]

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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Geardiary: Foleo Unboxing Photos

I'm not sure how they managed to do it, but the folks over at Geardiary got their hands on a pre-release Foleo and posted some unboxing photos.















Keep reading...

[Thanks to the tipster who sent this in.]

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Rumor: "Foleo II" Will Use New Hardware

It has only been a short while since Palm CEO Ed Colligan announced on the Palm blog that the Foleo mobile companion was going to be canceled to allow Palm to focus on the development of "Palm OS II" which would be used to drive future solutions from his company.

As a result, beta testers of the Foleo I where asked to box their units up and send them home. (I should point out that I was not selected to be a beta tester.) An interesting post has shown up in the TreoCentral discussion forum. TreoCentral member Gameboy 70, who was a Foleo beta tester wrote:
"I just found out yesterday that I have to return my Foleo to Palm. The email stated that development of the current Foleo has ended, and that "A Foleo II will have different hardware," which was tantalizing. "A" Foleo II makes it sound hypothetical, while "will" sounds imminent. I originally thought Palm was going to take a few more months to augment the firmware and flash the existing units."

If this is true, I am encouraged by these developments. Many of the readers of Foleo Fanatics have already bought into the idea of the Foleo and the customer base it will support. This report of a new hardware design could signal that Palm could be making changes to the hardware that will allow Foleo II to return as an even more powerful device in the future.

One of the well publicized "issues" with the Foleo was that it couldn't play Flash video, like those used by YouTube, as well as Palm and their customers had hoped. (I know that this issue was software based.)

Could new hardware be part of the future plans for the Foleo? The demo unit that I was able to play with did seem to be production grade. The keyboard felt solid and the lid and hinges seemed sturdy. Could Palm be mulling over a faster processor? More memory perhaps? Or could they be looking at newer battery technology to provide even longer run time on a single charge? Only Palm knows for sure at this point. Regardless I am encouraged by the prospects of a refreshed hardware design that could allow the Foleo to do even more than the original demo units.

What are your thoughts on the prospects for a Foleo II? Let us know by clicking the Comments link below.

Read Gameboy70's post on TreoCentral...

[Thanks to the tipster who sent this in.]

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Inquirer Talks about Foleo

The Inquirer has a new article posted that talks about the Centro and the "not-Centro-smartphone" coming to Europe next week, and the fate of the Foleo Mobile Companion.

The Inquirer writes:

"The new product is not, contrary to much chatter on the web, the Centro, of which little is known other than what can be gleaned from the usual murky shots snapped by PDA-obsessed sites. Instead it’s a Treo that will be launched with partners Vodafone and Microsoft at a London press conference next Wednesday.

Unless the new Treo is something very special, however, it won’t stop the chatter on Palm-stalking blogs and websites where some of the big questions being asked include:

Will there be availability of product on auction and other sites?

Did the mewling of fanbois kill a good product?

and,

Could the Foleo rise phoenix-like from the ashes?"

Oh ya and Foleo Fanatics was mentioned in the article too.

Read New Treo loom as Foleo lives on in blogosphere...

[Thanks to the tipster who sent this in.]

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Thank you

Yesterday's news that Palm has canceled the Foleo was, to say the least, a little bit surprising. As you know, the Foleo was very close to being completed and released.

I was reviewing the traffic logs for Foleo Fanatics this morning and discovered that September 4th was the single busiest day for the site. Thank you for your continued support. As I stated yesterday, I will continue to cover the news and provide analysis on the Palm community.

I would also like to thank all of the folks who emailed me and left comments here on Foleo Fanatics. I know many of us were looking forward to being able to use a Foleo, either as a companion to the Treo or as a stand alone computer, in the coming weeks.

For Palm, their immediate priorities should be to complete the work on "Palm OS II", complete the work on the first smart device (be it a Treo or Centro) that will run that operating system, test it, and deliver a stable product platform for their customers. As I stated in last week's 1SRC.com Editorial, Mobile Linux - The Key to Device Interoperability, it is important for Palm to have synergies between devices. The decision by Palm to move resources off the Foleo I project and on to a new Linux OS and smartphones is a signal that Palm understands their the current marketplace and is now executing a plan to realign their business with the market.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Palm Cancels the Foleo

In a Palm company blog post earlier today, CEO Ed Colligan announced to Palm's customers, partners, and developers that the Foleo mobile companion project was being canceled. Mr. Colligan writes:

"As many of you are aware, we are in the process of building our next generation software platform. We are very excited about how this is coming together. It has a modern flexible UI, instant performance, and an incredibly simple and elegant development environment. We are working hard on this platform and on the first smartphone that will take advantage of it.

In the course of the past several months, it has become clear that the right path for Palm is to offer a single, consistent user experience around this new platform design and a single focus for our platform development efforts. To that end, and after careful deliberation, I have decided to cancel the Foleo mobile companion product in its current configuration and focus all of our energies on delivering out next generation platform and the first smartphones that will bring this platform to market. We will, of course, continue to develop products in partnership with Microsoft on the Windows Mobile platform, but from our internal platform development perspective, we will focus on only one."

While this decision is hard to accept, especially here at Foleo Fanatics, I can understand Palm's decision to move forward and put all of the company's available resources into developing "Palm OS II" and the new smartphone hardware that it will run on.

Later this week, I plan on addressing this issue in my weekly 1SRC.com podcast. I will post more details as they become available.

Foleo Fanatics - Moving Forward

Foleo Fanatics was launched earlier this year to cover the Foleo Mobile Companion product and the smart devices that would have worked with it. Since the introduction of the Foleo this past May, Foleo Fanatics has enjoyed a fair amount of traffic from Palm enthusiasts around the world. Because of the community we have built around this site, I intend to continue to bring you the news and analysis from the Palm community, including the upcoming Centro smart device, "Palm OS II", and Palm's future developments around future plans for the "Foleo II" project.

I would like to thank all of my readers who have been visiting Foleo Fanatics over the last few months and look forward to continuing to provide you with your Palm community news.

Alan Grassia
Editor, Foleo Fanatics

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Companion or Stand Alone Product

Ever since Palm announced the Foleo back in May they have been fighting an uphill battle to try and convince people that the Foleo is not a sub-notebook or Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC).

So while I'm waiting for my chance to buy my Foleo, I have to wonder if Palm should just go with the flow as it where and market the Foleo for what is is being perceived as: a light weight Linux notebook.

Palm wouldn't have to take anything away from the Foleo being a great companion product for the company's smartphones. What they would be gaining, after some shoring up in the software department, is a new market of customers who would use the Foleo as a mobile computer.

What do you think? Click the Comments link below and let us know.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

InfoWorld: Palm Says the Foleo is on Target



A new InfoWorld article out today reads:

"As stated on May 30, U.S. availability for the Palm Foleo mobile companion will begin this summer. We will let you know if this changes," said Jim Christensen, Palm's director of communications."

I've been reading InfoWorld magazine for years now and I've come to trust their reporting. In the "yes-it-is/no-it-isn't" ping pong game that has been going on about the Foleo, I'm inclined to err on the side of optimism and place my bet on the Foleo shipping before October of this year. We'll see if I'm right or not.

Read the full InfoWorld article...

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Rumor Mill: The Foleo is Still on Target

OK, there has been a lot of speculation this week about whether or not Palm is delaying the Foleo to work on software bugs and enhancements.

Today, Ryan Kairer over at PalmInfoCenter posted a short article indicating that,

"A Palm spokesperson has told PalmInfocenter that the company is still standing by its original timeframe originally announced back in May, saying "U.S. availability for the Palm Foleo mobile companion will begin this summer."

So the question that every Foleo Fanatic has on his or her mind is: Is the Foleo delayed or not? I wish I knew, but I still have no idea which rumor is closer to the truth at this point. My only hope is that Palm pre-announces the release date a few days, maybe a week, in advance to I can plan to be at the New York Palm Store when it opens so I can get my hands on one with in the first 15 minutes of it being available.

Read PIC's full article...

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Barron's - Over Simplification

Ben Combee has been spotted on the message boards again. This time he is commenting on the #comments blog story regarding the recent Barron's article (details) about the Foleo's apparent delay.

Ben writes:

"I can’t talk much about when we’re launching yet, but I can say that the comments in Barron’s are a major simplification of what’s been happening this summer. We’re not stupid; we’ve been working on lots of complicated sync issues on lots of phones for the last year, including testing with a wide range of Treo devices. The issues haven’t been “it doesn’t sync”, but more like “after syncing large numbers of emails over a four day time period, the operation fails 25% of the time and cannot restart without resetting the device.” We’ve been doing lots of stress testing, and sometimes that finds problems that have been hidden for a while or problems that are really hard to debug because of the need to setup a reproducible case with instrumentation."

OK, I'm feeling better about this. I think Ben goes out of his way to show that Palm is working long and hard to ensure that the Foleo launch goes smoothly and without any software issues.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rumor Mill: Has the Foleo Been Delayed?

Tiernan Ray writes for Barron's website today that Palm may have pushed back the release date of the Foleo to late September to early October. The Barron's article cites Deutsche Bank's Jonathan Goldberg who wrote, "In a round of checks yesterday we learned that the Palm Foleo will be delayed" in a briefing released today. Mr. Goldberg's briefing continues:

"The product was supposed to hit Palm stores this week, but was delayed when software bugs were detected. These apparently included an inability to synchronize the Foleo with most models of the Treo, in particular the nominally high-volume Treo 680. Our contacts indicate Palm now expects the device will ship in late September/early October."
This is surely some sad news for my fellow Foleo Fanatics who are waiting for this device to become available, however, I would rather seem Palm work out all the kinks before the device ships. If that means that software on the Foleo or the various Treo smartphones needs to be fixed, I would rather Palm fix it and have a solid launch than ship a product that isn't complete.

Read Barron's Tech Trader Daily article...

[Thanks to everyone who emailed me about this report.]

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

1SRC Editorial: Big Blue Inside


I've posted this week's 1SRC Editorial which deals with the recent reports that IBM is looking at possibly purchasing Wind River Systems, the embedded Linux operating system company.

"Palm recently announced a partnership with Wind River Systems to provide the underlying open standards Linux operating system for future Foleo Mobile Companion products. Over the weekend, PC World Magazine ran an article on their website about a possible acquisition of Wind River by IBM.

Powered by Blue

Palm is a company that has a lot of balls in the air. The Elevation Partners recapitalization deal still needs to be approved and potentially executed with a backdrop of an already jittery financial marketplace. Palm is also gearing up for a number of new product roll outs including the Foleo Mobile Companion sometime in the next few weeks; the release of the new form factor Centro smartphone, and last, but not least, the launch of a new Linux-based version of Palm OS, which I’ve dubbed “Palm OS II” until Palm officially names the new operating system in advance of its introduction during the 2008 calendar year.

As if this wasn’t enough to keep a medium-sized technology company occupied, the possibility of having a new business partner acquired, I’m sure, has a few people at Palm interested in the latest M&A (mergers and acquisitions) newspaper headlines. The last operating system provider that Palm was working with, ACCESS/PalmSource, ran into trouble. So what is to prevent such a thing from happening again?

Enter IBM."
Keep reading...

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Wind River Systems to be Acquired by IBM?

Over this past weekend, PC World ran an article on their website about the possible acquisition of Wind River Systems by IBM. Wind River as you might recall was recently selected by Palm to provide an open standards based Linux OS for future Foleo products. (Details here.)
"IBM Corp. could establish a strong presence in the market for embedded operating systems with the acquisition of financially ailing Wind River Systems Inc., a deal that is reportedly in the works.

After the Silicon Valley Watcher site reported earlier this week that IBM was considering the deal, industry insiders -- including Wind River competitors -- agreed that an acquisition would make sense.

Wind River, a 1,300-person company in Alameda, California, develops operating systems for embedded applications primarily in the aerospace, defense and automotive industries, using both a version of Linux and its proprietary VxWorks OS."
Read the full PC World article...

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Editorial: The Foleo Needs eReader

I know that the Foleo isn't even available yet, however, I can't stop thinking about all of the things that I would like to do with it. There already has been a lot of debate about what should be included in the Foleo (read: YouTube for the younger crowd), but I wanted to keep the focus on more narrowly focused applications that can be added for or shortly after launch.

One of the things that I enjoy using my Treo for is reading ebooks. When I carried two devices, the Tungsten T3 and a Treo 600, all of the ebook reading was done on the T3 due to the fact that the screen was physically larger and had a higher screen resolution (320x480 on the T3 vs. 160x160 on the Treo 600). Moving to the Treo 700p with a screen resolution of 320x320 helped, but I always found that reading books and manuals on the computer better suited for a larger screen. (I no longer carry the Tungsten.)

Enter the Foleo with its 10-inch 1024x600 resolution screen. The Foleo will ship with DataViz Documents To Go and a Palm developed Acrobat PDF viewer installed. These two packages will allow you to read Microsoft Word (and presumably text and rich-text formatted files) and Adobe PDF files. This address part of the problem if the ebook you are trying to read is in one of the support file formats and isn’t encrypted, but does not completely solves the problem.

For a long time now, Palm has been including the eReader Palm OS ebook reader (also called eReader) on the bundled Palm handheld and Treo bonus CDs for years now. And as such, I've amassed a large collection of ebooks encrypted in the eReader file format. In addition to the Palm OS application, eReader has also made Windows Mobile/Pocket PC, Mac OS X, and Windows versions of their reader application available for download. Customers are free to buy an encrypted ebook and view it on multiple devices as long as the free reader for your specific platform was installed.

I was rather surprised to see eReader missing from the list of partners who will be releasing software for the Foleo on launch day. I would really like to see eReader get behind the Foleo and offer their customers the option of reading purchased ebooks on another platform as I feel that the larger screen and higher resolution will only enhance the enjoyment of being able to read an ebook while traveling with the Foleo. As I see it, the Foleo has the potential to offer eReader customers a larger view of the "page" along with adjustable font sizes. The longest running and often sited complain I've heard from corporate users, the Foleo's target market, is that the screens of mobile devices are just too small. Here is an opportunity to capitalize on that complaint.

What do you think about the Foleo as an ebook reader? Leave your comments in the discussion thread.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

PCWorld Hands on with the Foleo


PCWorld has published a review of the Foleo from this week's LinuxWorld conference.

"The Foleo is the first Linux-based item from Palm, and touts an easy one-button e-mail sync over Bluetooth with Treo smarthones (both Palm OS and Windows Mobile versions). It has a 416Mhz processor, 256MB of flash memory and 128MB of ram, but no hard drive. The 10.2 inch screen has a 1024x600 resolution, and it has 802.11b and Bluetooth 1.2 wireless capabilities.

There's a single USB port, along with slots that can accept SD or compact flash memory cards (Palm says they've tested cards up to 4GB). And you can connect the Foleo to an external display, which will use a 1024x768 resolution.

As the Palm guys at the conference put it, the Foleo is meant to be "what happens when a PDA grows up," rather than a shrunk-down laptop. The applications are similar in look and feel to what you'd use on a smartphone, but are of course easier to use with the larger screen and full-size keyboard."

Read the full PCWorld article...

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Foleo Specs

As part of yesterday's 1SRC podcast, I talked about Brighthand's Editor-in-Chief Ed Hardy's article, Palm Releases New Information on the Foleo. In the article, Ed talks about some of the Foleo product specifications that have come to light during this week's LinuxWorld conference. Since the Foleo still isn't shipping yet, some of the details are still not available.

Here is what we know.

Processor: 416MHz Intel PXA27x

RAM: 256MB of non-volatile memory, about 128MB will be available for data and applications

Graphics Processor: Marathon 2700G graphics accelerator

Storage:
Compact Flash (CF) maxing out at 2GB;
Secure Digital (SD) maxing out at 2GB;
Support for FAT16 and FAT32 formatted USB Flash drives

Networking: 802.11b Wi-Fi and Bluetooth v1.2

I will post more Foleo product specs as they become available.

Read the full Brighthand article...

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Foleo Update on the 1SRC Podcast



On this week's 1SRC Podcast, show 141, I cover all of the latest Palm Foleo news coming out of LinuxWorld.

1SRC Podcast 141 Show Notes:
  • CNNMoney.com reports that the Foleo will ship in September. Are they correct?
  • Palm partners with Wind River Systems for future Linux development on the Foleo.
  • Palm also announces a LogMeIn client for the Foleo will become available.
  • Brighthand's Ed Hardy has details on production Foleo specs.
  • PalmAddicts has posted an notice about the new TalkPlus.com beta for the Treo.
  • 1SRC Editorial: The Evolving Treo.
Listen to 1SRC Podcast 141...

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

LogMeIn Adds Support for the Palm Foleo


Palm and Foleo software partner LogMeIn have announced a client for Palm's upcoming Foleo Mobile Companion.

LogMeIn is a free service that securely connects a remote client with a personal or corporate computer across the Internet. Attendees of this week's LinuxWorld conference can see a demo of the LogMeIn client running on the Foleo at Palm's booth, number 925.

"This alliance with Palm is a perfect fit for us. The Foleo is designed for people on the go and - by using LogMeIn - they will be able to access their files, documents, photos and music as if they were at their office or home PC," said Richard Redding, vice president, business development, LogMeIn. "We are excited to work with Palm and extend LogMeIn's offerings to improve the experience of Foleo users."

"The Foleo is the perfect device for mobile professionals who want to travel lighter and carry only what they absolutely need," said Mark Bercow, senior vice president of business development for Palm, Inc. "By adding LogMeIn to the Foleo, users can travel with the essentials, but still have access to files and documents left behind."

Read the full Palm press release...

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Palm and Wind River Parter on Linux Platform

Today Palm announced at LinuxWorld a partnership with Wind River Systems to provide an open standards Linux platform for future Palm Foleo products. In addition to being the preferred device software optimization (DSO) partner, Wind River is also making their Wind River Workbench software development suite available to the Palm developer community. Palm and Wind River will begin working on incorporating the Wind River platform to the Foleo over the coming months.

"By building the Foleo on an open Linux-based platform and publishing the tools developers need, Palm hopes to establish a vibrant developer community to create new applications that extend the mobile companion's built-in capabilities," said Mark Bercow, senior vice president, Business Development, Palm, Inc. "Wind River's open Linux platform gives us the reliability, performance and stability we need to continue driving innovation. Palm Foleo allows you to switch between applications at the touch of a button, play a game or write a memo, and synchronize your email. The Foleo makes you more productive than ever on the go."

"By offering an incredibly reliable architectural platform combined with an organization committed to operational excellence, Wind River is rapidly becoming the commercial Linux distributor of choice for mobile companies," said John Bruggeman, chief marketing officer, Wind River. "The stability and flexibility of Wind River's Platform for Consumer Devices, Linux Edition, coupled with Wind River Workbench development suite give Palm the strategic platform and tools it needs to differentiate the Foleo and help it deliver a solid platform for developers."

Thoughts on today's announcement

This is great news for the Palm community as it means that Palm is proactively working to build a solid foundation for the Foleo product family. By providing developers with the software development tools to create new applications for the Foleo, customers will be able to gain access to third-party applications that will extend the capabilities of the product beyond the initial product design.

Read the full Palm press release...

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Foleo Software Round Up

Last week (while I was on vacation) Palm and their Foleo solution partners announced a handful of new software titles for the upcoming Foleo Mobile Companion.

Six Apart Blogging Solutions for Palm's Foleo

To start things off Palm and San Francisco-based Six Apart Ltd announced that Six Apart's blogging services, which includes the popular TypePad service, will be compatible with Palm's Foleo Mobile Companion.

"It's vitally important for our business and individual customers to have access to their blogs and journals," said Aaron Emigh, executive vice president and general manager of core technology for Six Apart. "Our work with Palm allows our customers to keep their content fresh and current with the latest in mobile technology."

"Today's customers are doing much more with their mobile devices, including staying in touch with online communities," said Mark Bercow, senior vice president of business development for Palm, Inc. "Six Apart's blogging applications take advantage of Foleo's large screen and easy-to-use interface, making it simple for customers to take photos with their Treo(TM) smartphone, upload them to their blogs, then use the Foleo to edit and add text."

You can read more about Six Apart's solutions on their website. You can read the full Palm press release on the Palm website.

TealPoint To Bring Applications to Palm Foleo

Palm and San Rafael-based TealPoint Software have announced that TealPoint will be bringing some of their popular Palm OS software to the new Foleo Mobile Companion.

"With quality software support, the Foleo has the capability of revolutionizing the world of mobile computing," said Holly Egan, director of business operations for TealPoint Software. "As a leading developer of mobile applications, we can leverage our experience to best take advantage of the Foleo's open platform. Combining Palm's easy-to-use tools and our own unique proprietary software technology, we've been able to bring five full applications to the Foleo in only a few weeks. Moving forward, we plan to bring more applications to the Foleo -- new original titles as well as enhanced versions of our existing award-winning 28 applications for Palm OS(R)."

"TealPoint Software has a longstanding relationship with the Palm OS community and has brought dozens of applications to market for Palm devices," said Mark Bercow, senior vice president of business development for Palm, Inc. "They're now taking that success and bringing it over to the Foleo to give customers a rich experience, whether editing a picture, solving a puzzle or keeping organized."

TealPoint will initially bring the following software titles to the Foleo:
  • TealSafe
  • TealPaint
  • TealDiet
  • SudokuAddict
  • ShortCircuit
More details about TealPoint's applications for the Foleo can be found on the TealPoint website. You can read the full Palm press release on the Palm website.

NormSoft Pocket Tunes Foleo Preview

At next week's LinuxWorld conference and expo (August 6-9), NormSoft will be demonstrating Pocket Tunes (pTunes) running on Palm's new Foleo. You can read the NormSoft's preview announcement on the NormSoft blog. Continue to check the Foleo Fanatics website for more details about pTunes for the Foleo as they become available.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, Palm has been doing a good job of fostering support for their new Foleo platform by bringing a number well know developers to the table. According to Palm, a publicly available software development kit (SDK) will also be available for download the same day the Foleo launches.

[Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct dates for LinuxWorld.]

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Monday, July 23, 2007

The Palm Foleo: A Hands On Review

Palm hosted four Foleo Sneak Peek events last week. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Manhattan event held at the Rockefeller Center retail store in New York City. What follows are my first impressions of my hands on time with Palm’s latest product offering.

Palm has positioned the Foleo to be an accessory to your mobile phone. When it is launched later this summer, the Foleo will ship with support for the company’s Treo smartphones; however, Palm has expressed interest in expanding support to other mobile phones. (Foleo Fanatics will cover third-party phone support when it is announced. The remainder of this article will deal specifically with the Treo.)


Who and Why

The Foleo is aimed squarely at mobile professionals and executives who spend a lot of time reading and composing email and working with email attachments. When paired with a Treo, email and attachments (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Acrobat, and images) are displayed on a crisp 10-inch display. Typing up a longer email is easy with Foleo’s full-sized keyboard. For this first Mobile Companion product, the Palm designers have decided to stay focused on the core customer and the applications that are used. When developing the Foleo the designers looked at what applications worked best with a large screen. Email and document editing came to the forefront. The PIM applications work equally as well on the Treo’s screen or the Foleo’s screen and would have less of an impact on the customer experience. Palm is working with their solution partners to ensure Foleo customers will have additional applications to use with the Treo and the Foleo when the product does launch.

Hands On with Foleo

The first thing that I noticed about the Foleo was its large 1024x600 display. The display was crisp and easy to read. Since it was raining this particular afternoon, I wasn’t able to view the screen in direct sunlight, but the screen’s brightness did pass the sunglasses test.

As it turned out, the Opera browser was the foreground application and I wanted to test out web page rendering. The first thing that I tried was viewing the Foleo Fanatics website. It looked just as good on the Foleo as it does on my Mac or PC. I also tried out blog posting to Blogger with the Foleo and it worked as expected. The Foleo was up to the task and within minutes I had a new post up. The demonstration Foleo that I used was configured to use Wi-Fi. I was not able to try to connect the Foleo to the Internet with a Bluetooth connection with a Treo 755p. I can say that over a Wi-Fi connection, the Opera browser seemed just as fast as the wireless connection from my MacBook.

Switching to a new application is easy. Just press the App key on the keyboard and the Application Menu drops down from the top left of the display. If you are of the keyboard-oriented sort, you can use the keyboard shortcuts to launch a new application. To start the web browser, press the App and B keys. To switch to the email application, press the App key with the E key. Any one worried that the application-launching lag that may have crossed over from the Treo 700p to the Foleo will be happy to hear that, under Linux, application launching was snappy. In my time with the Foleo I did not experience any lag while applications launched.

The keyboard was roomy and comfortable, but that is not the only way to interact with the Foleo. Palm has included a track stick located between the G, H, and B keys just as they are on PC notebook computers. The really cool feature is the scroll wheel. To navigate the screen, you use your index finger and your thumb to scroll the screen up or down. To activate an object on your screen you can use the left or right mouse button. One nice feature that I learned about from attending the event was the “zing.” A quick flick, or “zing,” of the scroll wheel up or down will move the screen up or down a page at a time rather than a line at a time.

Another feature that I believe will be popular with business customers is the VGA video out port. Included in the Foleo box will be a VGA adapter that will allow you to connect the Foleo to an external video device like a table top projector. When the Foleo is connected to an external display, the screen resolution is changes from 1024x600 to 1024x768. Once connected the Foleo becomes a vehicle for PowerPoint presentation delivery. This capability has been available on Palm handheld PDAs and Treo smartphones for a while, however the solutions always required special drivers or hardware to make it work. Since I have to give several presentations a month, I will be looking forward to testing this new feature out in the real world once the Foleo ships.


Additional Information

During the Sneak Peek event I did manage to get some additional details about the Foleo. The first is that there is a USB port on the Foleo and that there is a USB host driver in the operating system. The USB host driver will allow you to connect things like flash drives, keyboards, and mice to the Foleo. I was not able to determine if the Foleo would support a desktop USB microphone as suggested by fellow attendee Martin Jablow.

According to the Palm staff running the demonstrations, the battery should provide about five hours of continuous use with both the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 802.11b radios enabled. With moderate use, the Foleo’s batter should be able to provide a day and a half to two days of use. The 802.11b radio was a compromise include Wi-Fi and to extend battery life. As I mentioned earlier, web pages were loading quickly enough that I don’t think that this will be a serious problem. Given the choice of longer battery life or an 802.11g Wi-Fi radio, I’d take the extra battery life. The Foleo’s battery will be user replaceable, however, for the event, the batter compartment was sealed. Palm has yet to release the specifications of the battery being used. I did confirm that the Foleo does not use the same AC adapter as the Treo, which means that if you are going to on the road for more than 2 days you should pack the chargers for the Treo and the Foleo.

The Foleo will ship with 128MB of non-volatile memory. Customers who need more storage space can add Compact Flash (CF) and Secure Digital (SD) cards to boost storage capacity. When a CF card is inserted, the Foleo uses the CF card as the primary customer data storage space. Presumably, the included file manager will allow customers to move previously stored data from the built-in memory area to the newly inserted card. When you insert a SD card in the SD card slot, the Foleo presents it to the operating system as just another storage volume. For the time being, Palm is recommending that SD cards and email are easy ways to move data between the Foleo and the Treo. While this arrangement will work, I can see customers looking for a way to browse the contents of the Treo’s inserted SD card using the Bluetooth connection and eliminate the need to shuffle SD cards around. I can also confirm that a PNY 4GB SDHC card did work with the Foleo. I was able to create a new Word document on the Treo, saving it to the card, and then read and update the same file on the same SDHC card on the Foleo, save it, and then view it back on the Treo.

The Foleo also sports a headphone jack along the right side of the device. The headphone jack is a regular 3.5mm jack (the Treo uses the cellular carrier specified 2.5mm jack) and it is a stereo jack. The speaker built-in to the Foleo is a mono speaker. The existence of that jack makes me wonder if a certain popular audio player for the Treo will be making an appearance on the Foleo before the year’s end. If the old saying “If you build it, they will come,” is true, I expect to see third-parties porting audio and video players to the Foleo once the software development kit (SDK) is released later this summer.

Despite my best efforts, I was unable to obtain any substantial information about the processor inside the Foleo. The only information that I was able to glean from a coy Palm representative was that the Foleo is faster than the TX. If we interpret this information literally, the Foleo uses a processor that is faster than the Palm TX’s 312 MHz Intel ARM processor. Palm has been using the 312 MHz processor in the Treo line, but long time Palm customers will recall that the Tungsten T5 handheld used the faster 416 MHz processor. All of this information is speculation on my part, and the full product specifications will be released close to or on the Foleo launch day.

In conclusion

The first Foleo Mobile Companion has clearly been designed with the mobile business professional in mind. From my brief time with the Foleo I was impressed by what I saw. The Foleo is a light-weight sturdy device that can easily be integrated into my regular business day.

The Foleo can be used as a stand alone computing platform; however, it becomes more useful when it is paired up with a Treo smartphone. The software that is bundled with the device will allow customers to get setup and working with little or no intervention from their company’s Information Technology department. And Palm is working with third-party solution providers to ensure that additional software will be available for the product launch and beyond, expanding the features and capabilities of the Foleo.

According to Palm, the Foleo is on track to meet an undisclosed release date later this summer. (The last day of summer is September 22.) When the Foleo goes on sale, it will retail for $599 and will be initially available at Palm retail locations and from the Palm online store. During an introductory period, there will be a $100 mail-in rebate on the Foleo bringing the total cost down to $499. It is expected that big box retail locations, such as Best Buy, will begin carrying the Foleo before the end of the year. (I don’t have any launch information for regions outside of North America.)

For more information about the Foleo, please visit the Palm website.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Foleo Fotos - Pictures from the Manhattan Sneak Peek

As you already know, I was able to attend last night's Foleo Sneak Peek at the Palm Retail Store in Rockefeller Center. The following are some pictures I took at the event.















The Rockefeller Center retail store front.















The Palm Goodie Bags - Don't Touch!
















The Orange Accessory Wall




















Foleo free standing ad



Foleo application launcher - The "App Menu"



Foleo application version screen



Foleo and Apple MacBook 15" size comparison



Foleo and Treo 700p size comparison



The Palm Goodies


Thanks Palm for hosting this event! A great time was had by all.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

I'm Here and It's Cool! (Updated)

I'm at the Manhattan Palm Store and the Foleo is totally awesome. Thanks to Ben Combee and Audrey Muller for letting me demo the Foleo this evening. Stay tuned for more details.


Update

I was able to spend some time throughout the Foleo Sneak Peek event playing with the Foleo. The more I worked with Foleo the more I liked it. The keyboard, mouse "stick", mouse buttons, and scroll wheel are very easy to use. I had no trouble reading the screen, and application switching was fast.

Look for my full review early next week.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

More Foleo Questions Answered

TreoCentral has a new thread running of questions to ask at this week's Palm Foleo sneak peek events. (I will be attending the New York event.)

You can read the entire thread here. If you are one of those people that likes to read the last chapter of a mystery novel first, you can cut to chase and read this post (post #3). The following is just a short excerpt from the TreoCentral thread.

How do I transfer a file from Foleo to Treo? SD card? BT?

At the moment, SD card and USB thumb drives are the best bet. However, our third party Avvenue has a nice service that lets you get access to files on your PC or Mac over the web. The Bluetooth connection is currently only used to talk to your paired phone.

Security features? Physical lock slot? Password protection?

No lock slot. There is optional password protection at turn-on time, and you can set the password to be disabled if your paired smartphone is nearby and within Bluetooth range.

Does mailto: URL in browser integrate with mail app?

Yes.

Battery life on standby? Indefinite?

It lasts a very long time. We designed it so if we ship it from the factory with a full charge, it should still have enough juice to be setup when you get it from the Palm store. I've left a unit alone for a month and still been able to turn it on and use it. Of course, this all can vary depending on individual battery quality, the amount of use the device has had, and user settings.
Read the entire thread...

Thanks to the folks who emailed me this tip.

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Gearlog Foleo Hands-On

GearLog.com has posted a review of the upcoming Palm Foleo Mobile Companion.

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.
The author does sniff out some clarification of specifications if not talk about any hard new product specs.

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.

Keep reading...

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rumor: Palm's Foleo Coming August 22?

According to an article published on Brighthand earlier today, Palm's Foleo Mobile Companion is scheduled to go on sale starting on August 22.

"When Palm announced the Foleo in May, it didn't give a definite release date for this device, just that it would be available at some point this summer. According to an anonymous source, though, the first model in Palm's new Mobile Companion class of products will debut on August 22."

I have been unable to substantiate this rumor, however, the date would be in line with what Palm has previously stated about the Foleo going on sale "later this summer". The staged launch with the Foleo becoming available from the online Palm store and at Palm retail outlets first and then other retailers later on is also consistent with statements made by Palm's Senior Vice President, Marketing Brodie Keast.

Read the entire Brighthand article...

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

New Foleo Sneak Peek Events Scheduled

Palm has added four new Foleo Sneak Peek events to the schedule. On Tuesday July 17, Palm is holding two events; one in the Washington, DC Union Station Retail Store and the other in the Los Angeles Grove Retail Store.

Then again, on July 19, Palm runs two more shows. The first is at the Palm Retail Store at the Westfield San Francisco Centre and the other is at the Palm Retail Store in Rockefeller Center, New York City.

Foleo Fanatics hoping to get an up close look at the Foleo before it begins shipping can check out the Palm Foleo Sneak Peek website to register for one of the events.

I have registered for the New York event on July 19th. If there are any other Foleo Fanatics who are going and want to meet up, you should send an email to: alan (at) grassnet (dot) net.

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Brighthand - Foleo First Thoughts

Brighthand's Editor-in-Chief, Ed Hardy, has posted this first impressions of the upcoming Palm Foleo Mobile Companion on Brighthand.com. Ed writes:

"Late this spring, Palm, Inc. took the wraps off the Foleo, the first device in its new third product category. When it debuts in the next few months, this won't be a handheld or smartphone, instead it will something Palm is calling a mobile companion.
Palm Foleo

I recently spent some time with a prototype unit, and I'd like to share my first impressions.

Hardware

One of the most important features of the Foleo is obvious at first glance: it's really quite small. For something shaped like a laptop, I mean. Naturally I didn't get a chance to carry one around for a few days to get a real idea of how convenient it's going to be, but it's certainly going to be easier than lugging around my full-size laptop."
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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Thinking Foleo – Software Is Key

Over the past few weeks Palm has been spoon-feeding us little bit sized morsels of information about some of the details regarding the Palm Foleo. Many people see that Foleo as simply as yet another technology company trying to release yet another sub-notebook computer.

I believe that the Foleo can be more than that. The Foleo is a companion product to a smartphone. As far as we know, for now at least, the Foleo should work with all of the current Treo smartphones. Palm has indicated that going forward the Foleo will work with other boardband capable phones. The Foleo is, in essence, a full size keyboard and 10-inch display for smartphones. You use it for those times when you can’t or won’t use the features of your smartphone. Probably the best example we have so far of when you would use the Foleo rather than say the MacBook on which I’m writing this is for composing long email messages.

The most interesting part of the Foleo, for me and I’m guessing you also, is what else the Foleo will be able to do. Jeff Hawkins, creator of the Palm Pilot, the Treo, and now the Foleo, has stated that this is the first device in a new category of devices. We’ve heard that same kind of talk before about Palm’s LifeDrive Mobile Manager. The Mobile Manager was a great device concept with a number of bad design flaws. The Foleo, I believe, will be different.

Much like the original Pilot, the Foleo is free from wireless carrier restrictions. Palm will be free to design the Foleo platform as they want to without having to give concessions to the carriers. By being in the full control of the Foleo hardware and software Palm will be free to deliver innovative solutions to solve problems that their customers have. The Foleo will be the device at the cross roads of the open Linux operating system, the ingenuity of the original Pilot and flexible feature set.

When the Foleo ships later this year, it will ship with the software essentials to give business professionals the same flexibility they rely on their smartphones for in a larger packages that is continuously synchronized with the data on the phone.

Palm has included a number of useful software features into the Foleo right out of the box. First, and most important, is a data synchronization engine. The Foleo will keep your contacts and email synchronized at all times. Also built in to the Foleo will be the DataViz Documents To Go office suite that has shipped with Palm OS devices for years. The Documents To Go office suite will allow mobile professionals to use access files that are attached to email messages. Web browsing on a smartphone can often be an aggravating experience and so Palm has included the Opera web browser to allow Foleo users a better web experience on a larger screen.

In today’s mobile devices, office productivity software is all expected. To round out the features that are not included in the Foleo’s box will be a virtual private network (VPN) client from Bluefire; the mDayscape full personal information manager (PIM) suite from MotionApps; Solitaire and Sudoku games from Astraware; and the Access ‘n Share remote PC data access client software from Avvenu.

The addition of these third-party applications will mean that on launch day, the Foleo will be even more useful than we where first told during the product announcement presentation. However there is one more software package that has been only talked about in brief passing conversations: the Foleo software development kit (SDK).

The SDK is the software the Palm has promised to make available when the Foleo ships. SDKs are used to write software for the Foleo by application developers. Once the Foleo SDK has been released anyone who wants to write applications for the Foleo will be able to do so. OK, you will likely need to know now to program in the C or C++ languages first, but after that, you could use the SDK to write software for the Foleo.

Palm understands that fostering third-party application development is essential for the continued longevity of the Foleo platform. Third-party applications will be just as critical to the Foleo as they where to the Pilot and Treo product families. Despite being a first generation device, the Foleo has a feature rich hardware platform on which to develop applications including multiple storage options (Compact Flash and Secure Digital cards), video and audio out capabilities, and the ability to instantly turn the device on and off. And because the Foleo is running a version of the Linux operating system it should be possible for Linux application developers to jump on the Foleo bandwagon.

The hardest thing for me to do now is sit back and wait for Palm to complete the Foleo and begin selling it. The hardest for Palm will to get the Foleo out the door with as few bugs as possible and to hit the ground running with third-party application support. If Palm can do that the first Foleo will be successful enough to make the Mobile Companion platform more than a one trick pony.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Avvenu Access 'n Share Coming to the Palm Foleo

Palm an Avvenu have announced that a Foleo Mobile Companion client for Avvenu's Access 'n Share service will be made available on the same day that Palm releases the Foleo.

Previously available for Palm Treo smartphones and PC/Mac web browsers, this new version of Access 'n Share was developed to take full advantage of Foleo's large screen size and wireless capabilities. Foleo users can securely browse PC files and folders, preview photos, download and upload documents, and share files with others. Access 'n Share also provides an optional personal digital locker that allows users to securely store and synchronize files from their PCs to an Avvenu server, providing remote access even when their PCs are turned off or not connected to the Internet.
"Palm Foleo is a great way to display and edit documents and information available on a Palm Treo smartphone," said Richard French, chief executive officer for Avvenu. "Avvenu Access 'n Share completes the proposition by allowing Foleo users to remotely access and share files stored on their work or home personal computers, whenever they are connected to the Internet."

"The combination of a Foleo, Treo and Avvenu Access 'n Share gives mobile professionals a direct route to access business-critical information without the worry of carrying everything with them," said Mark Bercow, senior vice president of business development for Palm, Inc. "And the Foleo's large screen and full-size keyboard is optimal for viewing and editing downloaded PowerPoint or Word documents."
More information on the Palm Foleo Mobile Companion can be found at the Palm website. Additional information on Avvenu's Access 'n Share service can be found on the Avvenu website.

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Palm and Bluefire Announce Mobile Security VPN


Earlier today Palm and Baltimore based Bluefire announced a virtual private network (VPN) client for the Palm Foleo Mobile Companion.

"Palm is truly demonstrating its leadership by selecting Bluefire's mobile VPN client for the Foleo," said Mark Komisky, chief executive officer for Bluefire. "It is essential that device manufacturers, wireless carriers and other industry leaders be proactive about the growing threat of wireless attacks. Palm Foleo users can be sure that their mobile data is secure."

"Security features and service are a priority among companies, and we continue to work to make our products compatible with security standards," said Mark Bercow, senior vice president of business development for Palm, Inc. "Teaming with Bluefire to deliver a secure VPN solution on the Foleo will help protect customer data."


The announcement of Bluefire VPN client application should be a big win for mobile professionals who will want to access the resources of their corporate network without having to carry their laptop. This should open the door to the corporate network's secure web applications using the Opera browser and either a broadband cellular data connection from a Treo smartphone or the Foleo's own built-in Wi-Fi radio.

More information about Palm's upcoming Foleo Mobile Companion can be found on the Palm website. Additional details about Bluefire's VPN solution can be found on the Bluefire website.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

mDayscape for Palm Foleo Announced

MotionApps has jointly announced with Palm to develop mDayscape a complete personal information manager (PIM) for the Foleo Mobile Companion. The joint press release reads (in part):

"Bringing a contacts, calendar and tasks application to the Foleo further increases usability of the Treo and enhances the user experience in a continued shift away from the desktop and toward a smartphone as a center of computing," said Voja Lalich, chief executive officer of MotionApps. "All of us at MotionApps are very excited to announce the launch of mDayscape on Palm's first mobile companion product."

By building the Palm Foleo on an open Linux-based platform and publishing all the tools people might need, Palm hopes to establish a vibrant developer community to create new applications that extend the mobile companion's built-in capabilities. MotionApps demonstrates the ease with which exciting technology andapplications can be ported to the Palm Foleo Mobile Companion.

"Using MotionApps' Quick Add feature, a user can add a new calendar event in seconds, and the event will be mirrored automatically on the user's smartphone. All this is done with the comfort, efficiency and convenience of the full-size keyboard and wide screen on Foleo," said Mark Bercow, senior vice president of business development for Palm, Inc.


MotionApps announcement to deliver a full featured PIM suite to the Palm Foleo is welcomed news. One of the criticisms of the Foleo was that it lacked basic personal information management tools that made Palm's PDA handhelds and Treo smartphones so popular.

For more information about Palm's new Foleo Mobile Companion you can visit the Palm website. Additional information about mDayscape and release notification can be found on the MotionApps website. mDayscape will be available for purchase on the same day the Palm Foleo is released. Further details about pricing and availability has not been announced.

Read the complete press release
...

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Astraware Announces Titles for the Palm Foleo

Palm and Astraware have issued joint press releases to announce Astraware's support of the Foleo Mobile Companion. Two of Astraware's most popular games, Soduko and Solitaire will be developed for the Palm Foleo with a pledge to release additional titles in the future. The press release reads (in part):

"The Palm Foleo is a unique and exciting new type of device, and we're thrilled to make two great popular games available for its users," said David Oakley, chief technology officer for Astraware. "The Foleo is an ideal companion for high-powered, time-starved executives, and Solitaire and Sudoku are ideal games to let them relax once their work is done."

"Business productivity is a major driving force for mobile computing; however we also believe in the importance of balancing work and personal time," said Mark Bercow, senior vice president of business development for Palm, Inc. "This is why we give mobile professionals the option to relax with a game of solitaire or a stimulating puzzle during downtime."


According to the Astraware representative that I spoke with, Astraware Sudoku and Solitaire will be available for purchase on the same day the Palm Foleo Mobile Companion launches. Pricing and availability is not known at this time, except in so far as Palm has committed to releasing the Foleo later this summer.

More information about Palm's Foleo Mobile Companion can be found on the Palm website. Additional information about Astraware's line up of popular mobile games can be found on the Astraware website.

Read the complete press release...

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