I am worried about Palm Inc.

by Volker Weber

Palm has two businesses: PDAs and smartphones (read: Treos). PDAs are old stuff. Some people still carry them, but most have switched to mobile phones. Treos are also old stuff, unfortunately. A 2007 Treo would have been a killer machine, in 2004. Today they are simply too big and heavy. I liked the Treo 750, but since I have seen the Samsung i600, it feels strangely quaint.

foleo

Now Palm is adding the Foleo. And I am afraid this is going to be a very hard sell. I know that I want one, but how many people really want to carry a very specialized (dare I say crippled?) notebook? Going forward, I just can't see them making enough money.

Why do I want one? This is the dream machine for a reporter. Instant on, full keyboard, long battery life, easily connected through cellular network.

Comments

Volker, did you have a look on the HTC x7500 Advantage (aka T-Mobile Ameo)? Seems to be a dream machine for a Reporter as well and is only one device including a small but usable keyboard and a 5" screen in a 3G phone with 8GB HDD a 3 MP Camera and GPS. Only disadvantage is the weight, but compared to my TimeSystem some years ago it's still smaller :-)

Sven Semel, 2007-05-31

small but usable keyboard

Not good enough. You need an 18mm pitch keyboard.

Volker Weber, 2007-05-31

Five hours does not seem that long, even the current iBook are advertised with "up to six hours"

Foleo:
And with up to five hours of battery life...

Ole Saalmann, 2007-05-31

I don't quite see the innovation of this concept over, say, the Jupiter-class Windows CE devices. Those came on the market in 1998 and didn't sell back then, either.

Hanno Zulla, 2007-05-31

Jupiter Windows CE, also known as Handheld PC: found this article from 1998 about it:

"But the latest version of Windows CE brings improvements in design and functionality, enough so that Jupiter could cannibalize notebook sales, at least the mini-notebooks. The 90 percent size keyboard and nearly-as-large display (now averaging around 9 inches, supporting 640x240 pixels) means that the form factor is not far off, at a much smaller size and lighter weight, eliminating most of the bells and whistles that most on-the-go workers no longer require or want. Improved E-mail access and browsing with Windows CE 2.0, more features and better device support could also help buy in. Some even say that as long as the OS continues to be tweaked, over time, it could replace Windows 98. Pocket versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, along with the capabilities to spellcheck, use folders, format paragraphs, make tables and change fonts are bonuses, too."

That didn't actually happen.

Hanno Zulla, 2007-05-31

I'm running to buy Palm put warrants !

Julien Bottemanne, 2007-05-31

The Palm price point is certainly attractive, but why ever would you want to carry two devices around, which must both be from manufacturer - surely that is the opposite of what we have all be heading towards - one unified device...

However, if you want a small laptop that is ideal for flights, commuting, journalism etc, and can get past the fact it runs Windows (oh for a 12" Mac Book Pro), then for me the Flybook is the one to have - 9" screen, built-in HSDPA comms, touch screen etc. etc, and beautiful with it...

Stuart McIntyre, 2007-05-31

@Stuart- From the press release:

Foleo mobile companions work with Palm's Treo(TM) smartphones (Palm OS(R) and Windows Mobile(R) versions). However, Palm believes that most smartphones based on Windows Mobile should work with little or no modification. Smartphones based on operating systems from Research in Motion, Apple, and Symbian likely can be supported with a modest software effort. The Foleo's synchronization architecture is open, and Palm expects to work with third-party developers to support as many smartphones as possible.

Foleo Press Release

I am not a developer, so I don't know how long "a modest software effort" takes, but it looks like Palm wants to make this easy for the other smartphones to connect to the Foleo, not just Treo's. I think that the market will be the deciding factor.

Gregg Eldred, 2007-05-31

@Julien, Don't think you'll get a very good price on those ;)

Palm needed to come out with something good. This isn't it. Sounds a lot like the Psion 7. There may be a very niche market for products like this, but it'll get swamped by full blown PC variants if there is any traction. I think my T3 will be the last Palm I ever own.

Kerr Rainey, 2007-05-31

How about just getting one of the one laptop for every child PCs. Has wireless, can be recharged with a hand crank, small, durable.

Carl Tyler, 2007-06-01

It has a completely different feature set. A keyboard which only fits a child, no instant on, no easy connection through a smartphone, no replication to and from smartphone. On top of that: where can you buy one?

Volker Weber, 2007-06-01

@Hanno,

actually, in a way it DID happen. Back in the late 90ies, I owned and used an LG H-220C, which was a reporter's dream then (and I worked as a reported in those years). Windows CE with word processor, mail client and browser - it was just the network connection that seems a bit lackluster: a phone line connector for dial-up connection.

Other than that, I liked the thing for its partability and near-full size keyboard.

Konstantin Klein, 2007-06-01

@Vowe,

So what you're saying is it's perfect for journalists then, I bet it doesn't have word count either :-)

Carl Tyler, 2007-06-01

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.

vowe

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