Palm comes to its senses and kills Foleo

Palm Foleo DiscontinuesIn case you missed it in the news a while back, Palm announced that they were going to be releasing the Foleo smartphone companion, which would be a small $500 laptop that syncs directly to the Treo in real time. They thought it would be the ideal companion to the Treo, since it is relatively small, starts instantly (no booting up) and doesn't take any time to sync with the Treo.

But instead of saying "wow, that's awesome, when can I get one," the vast majority of spectators either laughed or cringed. It's a phone accessory that costs more than the phone? It's a laptop that doesn't run 90% of the applications people want to run on their laptop, but costs the same as an entry level Dell? It doesn't give you any functionality that the old fold-out keyboards and is five times as expensive and five times as bulky? And you're spending all that money on this instead of investing in raising the bar on the Treo to blow that upstart "revolutionary" iPhone out of the water? These are just a few of the questions that were asked. Also, not uncommonly, "have you lost your frikkin' minds?"

Well, Palm may have had a brief bout of temporary insanity, but they have not completely lost their minds. They're admitting that it would take a huge chunk of change to make the Foleo into something to be proud of, and have the good sense to realize that they'd be much better served investing that money into the existing Treo platform. So they're giving the Foleo the axe.

This means that they've blown $10 million that could have been spent on a next-generation Treo, and fallen a few months behind in reclaiming their "coolest smartphone ever" title from Apple. But at least they're admitting their mistake and changing course before it's too late.

11 Comments:

    • Really? I’m still waiting for their store to come back online to get all the info on what was announced. You have linky?

      I still don’t think I’d get one, since they’re such a nightmare to type on. But if Palm doesn’t pony up between now and when I get the itch to upgrade (probably another year or so), it might be the only option. Unless the Razr has the basic smartphone functionality by then, maybe…

      • Nevermind, the store’s open again.

        • Excellent price drop on the iPhone, even if it’s not my bag.
        • The iPod Touch is pretty much what I expected, except that it has the tiny flash hard drive instead of a normal sized one.
        • But since they kept the “Classic iPod” line for people who don’t like the touch interface and prefer a larger hard drive, it’s all good. And jumping from 30/80 to 80/160 for the same price is pretty sweet! Although I’ll have to see the new duller black in person before I decide whether or not that’s an improvement over the shiny black.
        • Doubling the size of the Nano’s HD is pretty nice, as is adding the snazzier functionality. But is it just me or does it suddenly look like it has an obesity problem? It’s just so short and squat. I would have thought they would have just made it a sideways screen, so it would still keep the long and slender look.
        • No real change on the Shuffle except to make the colors a little more dull. I’m still not sure about the color change on the black iPod, but I like the less-shiny colors for the Shuffle.
        • No change on the Apple TV. But since they’re ditching all of the NBC shows, I’m considerably less interested in that anymore.
        • woo, ipod updates!

          Nano – umm, yeah. I can’t figure out why they didn’t just make it look like a candybar cellphone.
          OTOH, great pixel density. Can I have that for the iPhone and Touch now?

          I liked some ideas in the Foleo, and I’m still looking for something with similar specs. I like the idea of a small sub-laptop with a full QWERTY & browser, no optical drive and light so I can take it everywhere.

          Foleo was missing things (like, um, Flash support), but I liked the idea.

          I went into this with no desire to ever sync it with a smartphone – I can hardly imagine why someone would care about that.

          • They do need to rethink their name for the iPod Touch, though. It just brings disturbing public service announcement spoofs to mind. “Show me on the doll where the iPod touched you.”

            If the Foleo had cost about $300, and had more native functionality, I could maybe have seen it being useful. But the actual execution was just a few years to late to be revolutionary and a few years too early to be inexpensive enough to be worth it.

            • heh, I like the Touch name Because it can be provocative!

              Now see, this is what really bugs me – that whole 2nd paragraph makes total sense.

              I want a very portable laptop. Not a UMPC without a real keyboard.

              I want a small, ~2lb widescreen laptop. No optical drive, and we can even settle for a small (like 16 gig) Solid State drive if the prices of those ever started to compare to what we pay for portable flash memory. We can go with an older processor and lots of usb ports. I don’t mind getting crap RAM to start with because I’d just upgrade it to 2gigs anyway.

              Now really, why doesn’t this exist?? Any laptops under 5 lbs end up in that high-end ultra-portable category of $2-3K.

                • You really think Apple would release anything that cheap?

                  There are now a few “speculations” working their way through comapany pipelines (the Foleo was just the most talked-about), but none are out yet. And I’m still confused why it’s taking so long to produce something using last year’s technology.

                  re: Apple – I really wouldn’t mind it being an Apple product, after all, they’re very pretty, but I need the windows compatibility, and if I’m aiming under $500, I doubt the dual-boot capabilities.

                  • No, if Apple releases it won’t be that cheap. But it also won’t be as limited in functionality. Even their phone is running OS X, so it’s a no-brainer than their sub-compact would be full-featured. Instead of being just an accessory, it would be your main (or secondary) machine that just happens to be tiny and sexy. Along the lines of the things that Sony makes, only with OS X, Bootcamp, and all the usual Apple trimmings. And probably a hell of a lot less expensive.

                • Mmm, thanks for the offer, but I’ll pass.
                  I own a laptop now, I’d just rather lug around something a lot smaller, but I still need all the connectivity – bluetooth, wifi, etc.

                  Apparently Azures is coming out with a laptop like this under 2 lbs in the next couple months. I’m fine waiting until then.

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