Following the May 30th announcement of the new Palm Foleo (slated to be available later this summer), there were just as many questions as answers as to what the Foleo is and what it's primary purpose was. More evidence of the lingering doubts over the Palm Foleo is that the official Palm Blog just posted a brief audio Q and A with Foleo Creator Jeff Hawkins.
During the initial announcement, one of the biggest questions concerned 3rd party application support. Hawkins mentioned in an interview with TreoCentral, C|Net, and Palminfocenter that he expected that there would be 3rd part app support at launch. So, today Palm has announced that two companies have created Foleo-native applications, both to be available at launch. Unfortunately, although availablity is "known" (in that they will be available when the Foleo officially launches, pricing is not known.
The first company is a well-known games developer, Astraware Limited, who has created the first two games for the new Foleo mobile companion - Astraware Sudoku and Astraware Solitaire, with additional Astraware title to follow.
Sudoku is very popular right now. Just about everywhere I go, I see little Sudoku handhelds or Sudoku puzzle magazines. I love the game and play it on my Palm TX. I would imagine that all of you Treo fans know what the game Sudoku is but just in case anyone doesn't, here's a description: Astraware Sudoku is a logical puzzle game suitable for players of all abilities. Features include six levels of difficulty, pencilmarks in a choice of styles, optional completion and tracking of pencilmarks plus an advanced hint system.
Check out Jay's excellent Astraware Sudoku review from last June.
And Astraware Solitaire is Astraware's newest game. It features 12 of the most well-known and best-loved single-player card games including Klondike, Spider, Freecell and Pyramid. Each game has a wide range of custom gameplay options so users can enjoy the games with their favorite variations on the standard rules.
Since the Foleo doesn't have a touchscreen, I guess we'll be using the keyboard arrows or the little nub pointer in the middle of the keyboard
"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.
The second company to announce applications for the Foleo is MotionApps, best known for their mOcean audio application (TreoCentral review here), among many other "m" apps. MotionApps has filled a what many saw to be a signifant gap in the Foleo's initial software lineup - namely an integrated PIM app to handle Calendar, ToDo, and Contacts. That app is called the mDayscape Personal Information Manager for the Palm Foleo.
According to the press release, MotionApps' mDayscape is a Personal Information Manager developed natively and exclusively for the Foleo mobile companion. The application is simple and easy to use with Foleo's rich user interface. mDayscape includes contacts, calendar and tasks, three powerful applications tightly integrated with each other, the Palm Foleo and the Treo smartphone.
Again, it will be really nice seeing programs on that big screen. The more I hear about the Foleo and now these new announced apps for it, I'm really craving one.
"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.
Mark Bercow, senior vice president of business development for Palm, Inc. says that by 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. Sounds good to me.
Here are some details on mDayscape:
Calendar - Foleo Calendar is feature rich with conveniences like drag and drop but is also simple and smart. It provides multiple views of your calendar data including daily, weekly, monthly and yearly overviews. You can add new events in seconds or edit appointments you already have on your phone. With support for recurring events, categories, alarms and reminders that are triggered on your phone when the time comes and lot of other features, mDayscape provides a complete solution for organizing your busy life.
Contacts - mDayscape provides a fully featured address book for Palm Foleo. You can sort your contacts in various ways, edit contact information or search for a particular person with a click of a button. And when you find the person you are looking for, a simple click on any of her e-mail addresses will enable you to instantly compose and send a message.
Tasks - quickly add, organize or search your tasks using rich Foleo interface and then sync it with your smartphone. Sort your tasks by categories, prioritize them, create deadlines, and stay focused by setting reminders for the tasks you need to complete. Now you can fully focus on working through your to-do list while mDayscape helps with everything else.
MotionApps also said that they planned on adding addtional features to their program in the form of "software modules" for Foleo PIM that will extend usefulness of mDayscape and boost your productivity even more. Among other things, you will be able to:
- Share your calendars with your co-workers
- Access other people's calendars and plan meetings according to availability of participants
- Exchange your PIM data with popular on-line services, such as Google or Yahoo! calendars or corporate back-ends.
- And much, much more...
It's a very good sign that Palm has been able to get developers on board early with the Foleo. I hope that this is just the beginning of many more programs to be announced for the Foleo. It's too bad that mDayscape is a 3rd-party (and therefore probably not free) app, but at least it exists. With any luck, Palm's hunch that the Foleo - as a new product category - will spur signficant 3rd-party support is correct. If they're right, I expect to see plenty of feature rich apps just around the corner.