As expected, Palm has announced the "Foleo", a "mobile companion" that looks and feels very much like a subcompact notebook. Unlike a subcompact notebook, however, the Foleo is designed to be paired up with your smartphone, staying synced at all times:
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.
The Foleo will retail for $499 with a $100 rebate and is expected to be available this summer.
The Foleo does feature many "Zen of Palm" features like "instant on and off", a powerful and quick email app that's automatically synced up with a Treo. In fact, it is, in many ways, the spiritual successor to Apple's Newton eMate 300. However, Palm contends that the Foleo is a bit more innovative. Palm promotes the Foleo as having many of the advantages of a laptop without its disadvantages.
The Foleo mobile companion turns on and off instantly and features fast navigation, a compact and elegant design, and a battery that lasts up to 5 hours of use. Its applications include email, full-screen web browser, and editors or viewers for common business documents such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files. The Foleo stays synchronized via Bluetooth® wireless technology and uses the smartphones radio or the Foleos built-in Wi-Fi radio for general Internet connectivity.
Palm hopes to make the smartphone "in your pocket, finally, your primary PC" and thinks that the Foleo is the device that will enable that to happen. Details on the specs of the device are thin as of this posting, but right now we know that it features:
- Bluetooth 2.0 for synchronization
- A full-size keyboard
- A 10-inch screen non-touch screen - 1024x600 on the device, 1024x720 when displayed on an external projector or monitor.
- A "nub" pointer, a scroll wheel, and forward/back buttons
- SD Card slot for memory expansion
- A VGA-out for presentations
- 5 hours of battery life
- Less than an inch thick and under 2lbs in weight
- A 'solid state' memory architecture - utilizing the SD slot on the side for expansion as well as in internal CF card slot. Default built-in RAM is about 118mb of RAM
Similarly, details on the new Linux-based OS are also thin. We do know that in addition to being instant-on and off, it has:
- A full email client synced to your smartphone
- The Opera web browser
- A photo viewer
- Dataviz's Docs-to-Go
- A terminal app for accessing the Linux command line
It's also clear the the OS is able to gather other data from your smartphone (like signal strength). The Opera browser is very full featured - yet the hardware isn't quite capable of supporting Flash video like that found on YouTube. Also visible in one screenshot, a link to a "terminal" application - likely a Linux command line.
New for Palm - the Foleo is meant to support a wide array of smartphone products, not just the Treo. Initially, it appears that, in addition to Treos, Windows Mobile devices will be supported upon release. Palm also believes that it won't be long before there's full Blackberry support. Many devices can be supports easily, Palm contents, because of the openness of its new Linux-based platform.
Unlike many pie in the sky predictions of a foldable screen and keyboard, the Foleo instead essentially has a laptop form factor. For many fans of Palm and Treo, this will likely represent another evolutionary step by the company rather than the revolutions of the Treo and the original Palm Pilot. However, Palm seems to be strongly arguing to the contrary, that the Foleo is truly a "3rd Category" of business for them and will be the source of future products and innovation in the future.
On the next pages, we have some early throughts, screenshots from the Foleo, as well as more information about Opera and Docs-to-Go.
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