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Palm Unveils Foleo, Linux-Based "Mobile Companion"

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the too-little-too-late-or-lifesaver dept.

Handhelds 301

An anonymous reader writes "Contrary to recent rumors, it's not Palm's first Linux smartphone, and no, it's not a competitor to Nokia's Linux-based N800 Internet Tablet. Rather, Palm today unveiled the Foleo, which it's calling a 'new class' of mobile device. The device is designed to expand the email, Internet, and productivity application capabilities of mobile phones such as the Palm Treo, by adding a full-size keyboard and a larger screen. Company founder Jeff Hawkins predicts that the Foleo will be more successful than Palm's original Palm Pilot, which he designed, and more successful than its current Treo smartphones. He touts its simplicity: 'Press a button, it's on. Press it again, it's off. There are no other modes.'"

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Anyone else thinking what I'm thiinking? (5, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327089)

Small, low-power Linux laptop....

Re:Anyone else thinking what I'm thiinking? (2, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327319)

That's what I'm thinking. I travel a lot and would love a small low power laptop with a real keyboard. I've found that I really don't need much more than a browser, document creator and a terminal connection to servers for heavy lifting. Very good price point in comparision to sub-notebooks and the n800 (which I like a lot, but I can't type on it). If it's fairly open so I can add some basic sysadm tools and run a terminal, I'd seriously consider it.

Re:Anyone else thinking what I'm thiinking? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327395)

exactly what i was thinking, just not nearly as cynical.

i was thinking something more along the lines of 'when will these idiots learn that hardly anyone would ever buy shit like this.'
 
what really pains me is that some people, hell, alot of people put all their energy and time into making this, and i'm sure several of them knew 'this is going to flop. im wasting my time. at least im still getting my paycheck, though.'.

i'm fairly certain that there are full blown laptops smaller than this. (with more cpu power and more than 256mb ram)
i'm fairly certain that said full blown laptops are in the same general price range this piece of garbage will debut as.
i'm fairly certain noone, given the choice between this, and said laptop, for about the same price, would ever choose this.
i'm fairly certain we will yet see more and more useless devices like this end up new-in-box, on ebay, for a fraction of the initial msrp, before this year is out.

what a waste of R&D.

Re:Anyone else thinking what I'm thiinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327687)

Yes, there are laptops in this size/weight range.

No, they don't cost $499, they cost upwards of $1500.

Re:Anyone else thinking what I'm thiinking? (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328365)

Yes, there are laptops, and I have a small Sony Vaio TX-750P [small-laptops.com] . It is overdesigned for what I am using it for; the screen is brittle, and the fan runs whenever you move a mouse. And it costs about $2,300 though you can get it for somewhat less than that.

This laptop is so fragile, and so expensive, I would not even consider using it on the road. It won't survive the travel. If Palm's device is more rugged I'd get one easily. All I need is access to email and Web, and ability to read text files (ebooks) and occasionally type simple documents. Instant-on is far more important to me than the ability to run MS Word, since the laptop is too small for any serious wordprocessing. As result, I don't need a "faster CPU" because laptops are never as fast as desktops (except gaming laptops, which is something else completely.)

And to comment on your question why people keep designing mini-notebooks - because they are cool, and they are even useful if you know what to do with them. Every day they become more and more useful because more and more services are available over the network; gone are the days when you had to run your own sales database (FoxPro, for example) on each laptop - now you just connect to server. Wireless and Internet make the mini-notebooks useful and practical; a few years ago that was not the case, and it killed several of such designs.

About the Size of My MacBook (1)

queenb**ch (446380) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327545)

Does about 1/3 as much as my MacBook and costs as much as a cheap laptop at Fry's....

2 cents,

QueenB.

Re:About the Size of My MacBook (3, Funny)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327575)

costs as much as a cheap laptop at Fry's....
2 cents,
That's a pretty darned cheap laptop! :-)

Re:About the Size of My MacBook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328231)

size, moron.

Re:About the Size of My MacBook (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328427)

By that logic you should buy a standard desktop because it costs even less, and does even more. What you missed is portability, weight and instant-on, as if none of that has any value.

Just like a re-gutted Psion 7... great! (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327593)

I have a psion 7 running Epoch and an old CPU. This is a very handy form factor. I've been hoping for a new release but sadly Psion is no more. I think this is it.

It is pointless trying to stuff productivity applications into a PDA format. Try doing word even simple processing on a PDA or blackberry.

This is also much more like what an OLPC should be. ARM == low power & cost relative to an x86. I think OPLC got it wrong when they went x86 - which looks like it was done solely to support Windows. Linux runs great on ARM (there are probably more Linux devices using ARM than x86).

Where did you get the specs? (1)

feranick (858651) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327915)

Please indicate clearly where in the specs you see the Foleo runs on ARM. As far as we know, we don't know anything about RAM, CPU, etc.

Re:Just like a re-gutted Psion 7... great! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327941)

I've spent the last couple years of my life working with desktop-class apps on ARM. Here's my experience:

Linux may run on ARM, but desktop-class Linux applications run very poorly, if at all. For example Firefox is a dog, as is pretty much anything interpreted (especially javascript - ugh!). Lack of a large L2 cache is a primary culprit. Lack of an FPU in most ARM implementations is a problem as well.

ARM/Linux has dragged behind the mainstream x86 kernel as well. NPTL on ARM was very late, which made porting many things a hassle. The EABI transition wasn't much fun either.

Another big problem is that media playback is slow/limited if it works at all (Flash + other browser plugins for ARM are quite scarce). Optimization is often done for x86 extensions (MMX/SSE/etc). That code is key to performance in many media applications, and even if you're lucky enough to have something like WMMX on your ARM CPU, you still have to port the x86 code. That's a drag.

It's my opinion that OLPC made the right choice by selecting x86 over ARM. The Geode GX was a bad move, fortunately they fixed that by switching to the Geode LX.

Re:Just like a re-gutted Psion 7... great! (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328313)

Errr, so don't run dog desktop applications.... that's where much tighter slicker code like Opera come in to play.

Devices like the i.MX31, used in the Foleo, have some very interesting media processing capabilites. Enough to do movie playing etc. ARM is what mobile is about and as mobiles become more capable, the ARM parts will grow more peripherals.

Re:Just like a re-gutted Psion 7... great! (1)

jdray (645332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328323)

I'll like this thing a heck of a lot better if the screen swivels around so it can be a tablet (or the keyboard detatches) and I can use a pen/stylus for input. The screen is just the right size for the PADD I keep asking for.

Re:Just like a re-gutted Psion 7... great! (2, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328489)

This is also much more like what an OLPC should be.
Why? It is 4x the cost, has a shorter battery life, and at first glance doesn't appear to me to be as useful for a standalone machine compared to the OLPC machine.

I think OPLC got it wrong when they went x86 - which looks like it was done solely to support Windows.
Why would they do that when the official OLPC doesn't run windows. All the rumors about it doing so are just about Quanta (the company hired to manufacture it) saying they might make an OLPC-like computer and sell it to the general masses. The OLPC project went with x86 because they got a good deal from AMD and because support for other architectures is shoddy in most Free Software once you get past the kernel and basic command-line tools.

Re:Anyone else thinking what I'm thiinking? (1)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327857)

Hey, if Microsoft can take a tablet PC and put legs on it and call it a new innovative product, Palm can do the same with a laptop.

MOD THE TROLL DOWN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327091)

whoop-de-do (3, Insightful)

wiggles (30088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327105)

It's too big to be a PDA, too small to be a laptop. This thing looks like a solution looking for a problem. Other than the fact that it's a portable device that runs Linux, I see no reason to spend $500 on this. I'd rather buy a sub-notebook and have the extra functionality.

Vertical (1)

simpl3x (238301) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327525)

Like the Psion Netbook this thing is for a pretty limited market. It would likely function best running something like Sales Force or SAP-ish stuff. But, those markets often require specific functionality as well, like barcode readers.

It will be interesting to see how Palm created the interface to the Linux core.

Re:whoop-de-do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327645)

Subnotbooks cost 1.5K plus this is suitable for most people without the excesive pricetag. there are a lot of folks who just want a convienent web and mail tool without the 14-15inch display. This will sell.

That said it will be selling as a $350 basic version within 2 years

Re:whoop-de-do (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327751)

This machine looks a lot like my Toshiba Lifebook. My thinking, when I bought that, was that if I was going to get a laptop/notebook, I would want it to be as small as possible (for a notebook), and that's what I got.

But the lesson I learned, is that it still wasn't small enough. If it won't fit in your pocket, then you won't have it with you all the time. If something is bigger than pocket-size, then it might as well be big.

Re:whoop-de-do (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327951)

Are you sure you even know what laptop you have? Lifebooks are made by Fujitsu-Siemens, not by Toshiba.

Actually can be very useful- for specific apps (2, Interesting)

evought (709897) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328143)

I used a Toshiba Libretto and later a Sony Picturebook for quite a while. Both very similar, pocket-sized but full function laptops. With a smart phone and a portable printer, I could get a portable office and development environment in under five pounds and in carry-on luggage. With a battery upgrade, I got 8-12 hours use. I also had network diagnostic tools and adapters. It was not for heavy work, but for getting things done when I was stuck unexpectedly one place or another and I did not want to lug a lot of equipment. I could pull it out of a pocket, work on something for a few minutes, then just close the lid and slip it away. I generally had a full-sized workstation at my own office and at client sites. If not, a couple adapters at least let me steal a keyboard and monitor. Very versatile.

This form factor is not at all new or special. Toshiba, Sony, Fujitsu, probably others as well. Several problems with this one: not open-- can't necessarily install own apps; price too high-- apparently more like $7-800. Battery life not impressive for the form factor.

Re:whoop-de-do (1)

IgLou (732042) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328167)

I have a similar issue with this but different. For me this device is too underpowered (capability-wise) to stand alone and too overpowered/overpriced as an extension to a pre-existing smartphone. This can really only cater to a niche market.

I don't expect this to break palm but it will disrupt things for some time. I'm shocked they even went this route. I love my treo but I'm constantly annoyed that I don't have Wi-Fi built in and other annoyances. A was really expecting something more different considering the hype and it turned out to be a non-standalone not so laptop? How about give me the bleeding edge smartphone first? Since that area is where the competition is heating up.

It is the price point (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328485)

It really does depend on the price point.
With Wifi cropping up everywhere there are times when I wish I had my laptop with me but I don't really want to haul my Thinkpad around with me.
This with OpenOffice and a few SD cards could be a very handy tool for students.
If they can get the price down to $300 then yea I will buy one. $500 is just a bit too much.

Bad on/off interface (2, Funny)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327117)

'Press a button, it's on. Press it again, it's off. There are no other modes.'

Power controls like that are always a pain. You have to look to see if they're on to turn them off. And if they have other states, like "booting", "shutting down", or "crashed", it's even worse. Two buttons, "On" and "Off", please.

Re:Bad on/off interface (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327275)

Eh?

Perhaps you haven't noticed, but practically everything has a single on/off button.
Infact, I cannot think of anything with separate buttons, certainly there is a case for rocker switches and toggles, but not two distinct buttons.

Re:Bad on/off interface (1)

jmkaza (173878) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327329)

Let's see... TV, Stereo, Light switch, speakers, coffee pot, coffee grinder, monitor, computer, power strip. Yep, everything around me that uses electricity has a single button for on and off. The only thing I can thing of off the top of my head that doesn't is my blender, and that's because of variable speeds. What device have you seen that has a separate button for on and off?

Power Tools (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327511)

What device have you seen that has a separate button for on and off?

Big shop tools do (my drill press, for instance).

A slider would be much better in this case, I think. The Treo already has one on top.

Re:Power Tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327911)

at least on the treo i have, the slider on top has nothing to do with whether the phone is on or off.

And the point is? What? (2, Interesting)

nweaver (113078) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327125)

It looks like a subnotebook, it walks like a subnotebook, it bounces around in the briefcase like a subnotebook...

So why not get a real notebook?

Re:And the point is? What? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327595)

So why not get a real notebook?
Perhaps it has a superior UI? That's the reason Apple has been soaring recently. It's not that their hardware is amazing. It's that they actually hire competent HCI engineers.

$499 (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327653)

It looks like a subnotebook, it walks like a subnotebook, it bounces around in the briefcase like a subnotebook...

Disadvantages of a real subnotebook: fragile, expensive, gets malware (Windows), interfacing to use Bluetooth DUN can be hit-or-miss, esp. for the salesmen of the world, an extra machine to sysadmin. Does this thing have VGA out for PowerPointing?

I'd be happy to find a linux subnotebook of similar formfactor in a similar price range, if anybody has pointers.

Re:$499 (1)

amohat (88362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327843)

If it does decent powerpoint, or reasonable alternative, they would go like hotcakes.

Re:And the point is? What? (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327713)

The point is that it is something IT departments can trust their travelling business people to have with them while on the road without fear of them bringing back a compromised laptop to the corporate network. There is also very little to lock down or configure and the end user will receive a clean interface without the usual distractions of games and similar programs.

Re:And the point is? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328257)

At newegg, 11.1" and smaller [newegg.com] will cost you at least $1500. Here's something smaller for a thousand bucks less. Sounds good to me.

Of course, you'll get less machine in this deal... presumably it has no hard drive, no optical drive, and so on. But that's what tradeoffs are all about.

For me, I think it's a great device. I would love to have a subnotebook that is just powerful enough to run X and ssh and fits in a reasonably sized man-purse. But I don't want to spend over $1200 on such a thing, especially when a normal laptop costs only $600 or $700.

But I have serious doubts that this thing can work well for Palm's business. The trick is marketing technology to non-geeks. The iPhone is almost certainly going to make a mint, not because of the new technology it has, but because Apple can use its phenomenal reputation to sell a smartphone to the masses. An ultraportable or a subnotebook is great to have for meetings, trips, conferences, mass transit, etc. But right now, no one but a geek would consider buying one.

Palm is trying to use the appeal of smartphones -- not just Treo, but competitors' phones as well -- plus its industry position to get this thing into phone stores and convince normal, non-geeks to try it out. I don't think it will work, but I do wish them luck.

One thing that could work in their favor is software integration. There really is a ridiculous amount that needs to be done in this area. The sad thing is, it's often not even a matter of technical problems, but obstacles like the DMCA that are thrown up by the powers-that-be.

Let me be the first to say .... (1)

Gotung (571984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327129)

Bwahahahahahahhhahahahah!!! This is Palm's next great idea? Really?

Re:Let me be the first to say .... (1)

Bobartig (61456) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328397)

Hey it's not a new idea, but it is a market space where a good mobile device could make a place for itself, if it were designed and implemented really, really well. Yes, it's basically a notebook. But its cheaper than a small notebook, and smaller than a cheap notebook.

I've been shopping for a mobile net appliance, like the Nokia N800, or maybe this thing (can't say until I know more about it.), and I think its about time we started seeing smaller, less powerful, cheaper mobile computing devices. Smart phones are limited by their size, and too cumbersome to do actual document editing on, etc. etc.

Now, do I think palm will succeed with this strategy? Honestly, I don't. I don't think they have the talent to pull this off, given their recent offerings and business decisions. And, at $600 with MIR, its just too expensive for what would be a toy to me. Plus, I have no idea what hardware is in it. Like what's the screen resolution?

at 600 a pop (2, Funny)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327135)

I'll just take a OLTP or Classmate.



Tech execution (features) of this looks good. Business execution looks inversely proportional.



Piconets are good.

What's the point? (2, Insightful)

TheFlyingWonka (1107171) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327153)

I understand aiming this at people looking for a low-level laptop replacement, but as an alternative to a Blackberry or some smartphone? Look at the size of the thing...what's the killer app that's going to convince people to pick this up?

Re:What's the point? (5, Funny)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327355)

More to the point, where am I going to find a belt clip for this thing?

Re:What's the point? Killer app (1)

sien (35268) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327683)

Reading on public transport on the way to work. ebooks may be the killer app. That and reading stuff while watching TV instead of using a laptop. I know a few people who are looking for exactly this kind of device.


The problem may be that the XO solves the problem better and more cheaply.


But there is a market for this kind of device.

Re:What's the point? Killer app (1)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327807)

Wouldn't you want some kind of tablet device for reading, not a fold out laptop?

Re:What's the point? (1)

vhogemann (797994) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327815)

It's not an alternative, is a companion.

It can share, and edit, documents stored at a smartphone... Also, it has a better browser than most smartphones, and can be attached to a projector to show some powerpoint slides.

Seems like the sort of thing some executives, and sales people would find usefull...

Palm Folio, aka... (1)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327161)

Laptop. I mean, honestly, this just looks like a small special purpose laptop. What's to differentiate it from any other extremely small laptop running Linux? The article was a little light on details about what exactly makes this a whole new class of device.

And I'd Want This...Why? (4, Insightful)

mmurphy000 (556983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327173)

A 2.5-pound notebook running Linux with WiFi and Bluetooth sounds sweet...but one report [techdirt.com] says it's a closed system, which means until somebody hacks past that limitation, it's a dead-end. For about $500, I'm expecting at least a mostly-open system (like Maemo with the Nokia N800).

Re:And I'd Want This...Why? (1)

embsysdev (719482) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327371)

It isn't a closed system. Even the demo shows data-vis' documents-to-go and Opera's browser running on it. Palm's 70000 third-party devs are what's keeping Palm going. As someone once said, "it's the applications".

Re:And I'd Want This...Why? (1)

mmurphy000 (556983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327673)

Just because third-party apps are pre-installed by Palm doesn't mean it's an open system, at least in my parlance. An open system would be if Jane Q. Programmer could write an app and install it on the device.

For about $500 (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327617)

I see it being a non-system. Who is going to buy this in enough volume to keep it alive?

For $200, then you might be able to sell enough of them.

Re:And I'd Want This...Why? (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328039)

A 2.5-pound notebook running Linux with WiFi and Bluetooth sounds sweet...but one report [techdirt.com] says it's a closed system, which means until somebody hacks past that limitation, it's a dead-end. For about $500, I'm expecting at least a mostly-open system (like Maemo with the Nokia N800).

Of course you would not want to buy one for yourself but this could be a great thing for giving to business users out on the road from an IT administration point of view. All of those things you are complaining about make it ideal as a communication device without the common pitfalls windows laptops have. There is less to configure, less things to get screwed up and no viruses. This should make sys admins happy.

The target market for this is the business traveller, not an uber geek like you.

It is open! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328179)

The claim of being a closed system is totally unsubstantiated. Meybe they are confusing it with the iPhone. The Foleo will be an open-system, SDK will be available at the time this device will be on the market. Developers are actually encouraged to make applications for the Foleo. From the webcast [palminfocenter.com] :

"The device is powered by a Linux core with a custom Palm graphical interface. The Foleo will be a fully open platform, with Palm encouraging creative third party applications. A SDK was promised to be posted when the product becomes available."

Price (1)

Conception (212279) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327175)

This, while not a terrible idea, will only be a good one is it runs at a price that is super competitive. Like 100-150. Otherwise, they'll be trying to sell only to a segment that already can afford a notebook and probably already has one.

Palm, Inc. jumps shark. Founder sells 15000 shares (4, Interesting)

Torqued (91619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327177)

FTW?

Looks like Jeff Hawkins is so confident in the Fooleo that he decided to dump 15000 shares of PALM [forbes.com] .

Instead of spending R&D $ to fix the issues with their aging OS, they "invent" another piece of hardware that neither me nor any of my coworkers want to have to carry around. We already have notebooks.

Palm has officially jumped the shark, IMHO. Looks like I'm getting a Blackberry soon. :(

Re:Palm, Inc. jumps shark. Founder sells 15000 sha (2, Interesting)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327535)

I already have a notebook, but I still want one of these. It's actually the first Palm product I have ever coveted.

My main machine is a 15" Core 2 Duo Macbook pro... and it's just not portable enough. 2 hour battery life, yipee. I keep (and carry when I travel, along with the MBP) a G4 powerbook and spare battery for when I just want to bash out some text or leech wifi. My N95 is ok, but it just doesn't have enough screen space or a keyboard I can type on, unlike this thing.

If I could replace my Powerbook with one of these, so I only have to carry a MBP, Foleo and N95 when I fly, I can cut 2.5lbs out of my rucksack. That device will do everything I want when I go to a coffee shop to work. Good for my back, if not for my wallet.

Re:Palm, Inc. jumps shark. Founder sells 15000 sha (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327577)

Palm doesn't own PalmOS, so they have to choose things they have control over for their development. They appear to be replacing PalmOS with Windows Mobile and Linux anyway.

What good is stock as compensation if you can't ever sell it and spend the cash?

I think this device is pretty cool. You would have a hard time paying me enough to carry a laptop around, but a lightweight device with really long battery life, low price, and wireless? That's a different story. I bet these are expensive though...

Re:Palm, Inc. jumps shark. Founder sells 15000 sha (2, Insightful)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327931)

What good is stock as compensation if you can't ever sell it and spend the cash?

No one says you "can't" sell it, but if Hawkins truly thought Palm had a hit on their hands he'd be stupid to sell before the product is released. Ergo, by selling now, he demonstrates that he has little faith in the Folly-o.

Re:Palm, Inc. jumps shark. Founder sells 15000 sha (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328091)

Hawkins is an insider, and an executive to boot. The times when he's allowed to buy or sell stock are regulated by the SEC. If I were in his position, I'd probably exercise my trading rights at every opportunity.

Yeah, but does it... (1)

ferrellcat (691126) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327201)

...run Linux? Oh, wait. Nevermind.

Battery life! Battery life! Battery life??? (4, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327255)

I hope this device actually gets a decent battery life. I've been frustrated that all the new PDAs have worse battery life than the early generation machines. The venerable (and discontinued) Psion 5-series got 25-35 hours of use on a pair for AAs and the original Palm Pilot series got maybe 15-20 hours on a AAAs. Every device since those machines has been distinctly inferior (usually getting only a few hours of real use per charge). If the new machine can't last a full day at a conference or a trans-oceanic flight, then I'll just keep using those older (and better) machines.

Re:Battery life! Battery life! Battery life??? (3, Informative)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327307)

According to the articles I have read on it, it is supposed to get around 5 hours.

i need some big pants (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327269)

so that i can fit this in my pocket. That is the advantage of the devices they are competing with.

Ok, I get it! (1)

ClaraBow (212734) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327273)

It is simply an external monitor and keyboard for my smart phone. What I don't get is who's asking for such a device?

VR3 anybody? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327289)

I had hoped it might be like a VR3 [linuxdevices.com] with updated hardware, but no... Darn.
Please, please can somebody build a VR3 with a GB of Flash, 256 MB RAM and a faster ARM? The concept was fantastic, it just needed a little more performance.

Re:VR3 anybody? (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328493)

yes, it was made, called the Zaurus SL-6000L (well, you'd need to add a multi-gig CF card) :-)

IBM WorkPad, meet the Toshiba Libretto (2, Funny)

kenh (9056) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327323)

Come on - this is new? It looks like beter executions on a five+ year-old product.

Take a look at the IBM z50 [hpcfactor.com]

And the Toshiba Libretto [pcmag.com]

And remind me, what is the new product here - faster CPU? Better battery life? Oh wait, it runs LINUX! When can I pre-order it?

And don't forget... (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327691)

... the smaller versions of the Fujitsu Lifebook, the P1610 [shopfujitsu.com] . I still run Ubuntu on my old P1120. And the battery life is usually about 4.5 hours (even with wifi running).

Foleofish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327349)

Yummy,another OLPC style laptop.

Assuming I can run regular Linux on it, I will buy a Foleo, OLPC, or that Intel thing.

Important features:
- No moving parts
- long battery life.
- cheap.

I'm not sure it can compete (1)

Paul Carver (4555) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327401)

As the owner of a Fujitsu P2000 (P2120 specifically) this is certainly a device I'm interested in, but 5 hours of battery life is way too short and I don't see much to indicate whether this is a fully open Linux system.

I'm running WinXP Pro on my P2000 and although it's getting on in age and leaves a lot to be desired in the CPU department (Transmeta CPUs never lived up to the hype), I certainly wouldn't trade it in on a locked down device.

If this thing from Palm doesn't support fully open installation of standard desktop applications then I don't see much point in it.

Re:I'm not sure it can compete (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327759)

I own a similar model (P1120). I dual boot mine between Win 2K and Ubuntu. There was a bit digging about for the touch screen drivers and mucking about with the Xconfig file (for the wonky screen form factor), but otherwise wireless worked without a hitch. Since I don't use the modem, I don't know about its support. I'm still running Breezy on it, though. I haven't upgraded it to Feisty, so you might not even need to do the stuff I did.

Re:I'm not sure it can compete (1)

Paul Carver (4555) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327801)

For the heck of it I just stuck my P2120 on a kitchen scale. It's 3.75 pounds. That's with both the drive bay battery and the extra high capacity main battery. My bay battery is a couple years old and I haven't timed it from full charge to fully dead, but I get at least 8 hours minimum, probably more like 10+. Here's a rough comparison of the specs.

Folio vs P2120
Weight: 2.4# vs 3.75#
Battery Life: 5 hours claimed vs 8+ hours conservative
Screen: 10.2" vs 10.5" diagonal
Resolution: 1024x768 vs 1280x768
RAM: 256MB vs 512MB

Now, I paid $2000 3 or 4 years ago and I've replaced both batteries. I also upgraded the internal 802.11 from b to g and I don't have Bluetooth built in at all or SD or Compact Flash slots (although I do have a PCMCIA slot that I've never used).

If this new device from Palm is under $500 it might be interesting, but frankly I'm unimpressed. I'm waiting without much hope for a device the same size and weight of my P2000 but with at least 5 times the CPU power and at least double the RAM.

Lame (2, Funny)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327435)

No "on" switch. No "off" switch. Lame.

Needs a sexier name (3, Funny)

anneha (1051480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327491)

I'm thinking about "Palm Fellacio"

Uhhhmm, Specs Anyone? (1)

prometx42 (1107413) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327499)

What processor is this thing running on? How much RAM does it support (Max)?


If it pleases me on these points, which I can't seem to find the data on, I have many interesting ideas for a machine like this. Has anyone "seen under the hood" on this thing?


I'll give it a whirl, that is after their warehouse grows dusty and they realize it's cheaper to lower the price-point than hire hundreds of janitorial staff to keep peeling away the cobwebs for the occasional sale...



prometx42

Re:Uhhhmm, Specs Anyone? (1)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328011)

Not sure about the processor, but Hawkins admitted at the conference today (look it up at Engadget) that the machine chokes a good bit on Flash videos. That should give you some indication about its power or lack thereof...

Dear Jeff (1)

furball (2853) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327507)

Unless that email client has search-based folders ala Gmail, and Mail.app, welcome to the last fucking century.

The Atari Portfolio Lives! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327533)

Hmm....Atari Portfolio...Tandy Pocket Computer...Sharp Pocket Computer...HP Journada....

Besides WiFi and high-res, any new ideas in there that aren't 20 years old?

Nothing to see here, move along please.

More stats are in.... (1, Informative)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327557)

... the actual press release [blogs.com] , including the estimated price - $600-$700.

Actually comes with Linux, unlike 2.5lb craptops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327567)

All the craptops you compare this to enrich the Windows empire.

This is the ONLY 2.5 lb machine I will consider. It is the smallest machine I have seen that both runs Linux and offers VGA out. The rest is silence.

Improve the phone side (1)

philipsblows (180703) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327659)

I see what he's going for... this is basically the old Apple DuoDock concept applied to a phone, where the phone is the core device and you can use a bigger, less-conveniently-sized device to extend the utility a bit. [And yes, as I was writing this I noticed this comparison has been made elsewhere by now]

Great.

How about instead of obex and proprietary and this and that, "they" start making cell phones that "just appear" within one's device landscape? For example, when I place my cell phone near my computer, shouldn't I be able to just sync it up [didn't Palm get that ball rolling, and didn't SyncML un-motivate universal device sync...], share the display [ala those little sidecar lcd screens popping up on the outside of laptops and messenger bags now for Vista] and in both directions, have the phone keyboard appear as another UID, storage mounts as a disk, etc etc etc.

I know some of this is possible if you're running Windows and you've installed the right proprietary warez, but for those of us unencumbered by Microsoft OS products, it's catch as catch can.

How about a smart phone that implements wireless USB and the appropriate device class stuff so that I can use my future Nokia N10K or Treo 999l or whatever for all that stuff above. Hell, just mounting the filesystem when my phone and desktop or laptop are near each other without jumping through hoops would be sweet. I would buy that phone yesterday if it existed. Until then, it's openobex and quirky bluetooth connections and mild disappointment with the state of the "smart phone" world.

No Interested (1)

GeeBee (104073) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327669)

I have a Palm TX and many Palm OS apps. However the Foleo is too big to be a Palm and too small to be a laptop. I like my Palm because it is very small and light and fits in my palm! I like my laptop because it is full featured and when I'm at a desk or table where I can take it out and plug it in I use it instead of my Palm which is nice but less capable -- especially the browser. Palm OS apps are nice but there is no draw for me to this large form factor. BTW when I want a keyboard for my Palm I have one of those folding ones. Both together are half the size and weight of this thing.

The price is the problem (1)

monopole (44023) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327675)

The basic concept, an instant on, no hard drive, Linux notebook is solid. I love my Palm T|X and find it preferable to a laptop for portability and simplicity, so a bigger screen, integrated keyboard, and linux support would be a big win.
But:
-5 hours is a tad dodgy on power, 'tho external battery packs would help.
-The price is equally problematic, with the OLPC costing nearly half that.

If Palm held the price down to $300 it would be awesome.

OLPC price comparison not relevant (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327769)

-The price is equally problematic, with the OLPC costing nearly half that.


Since the people Palm is trying to sell Foleos to can't buy XOs, the fact that the Foleo is about 4x as expensive ($600-700 vs. $175) the launch price of the OLPC doesn't really mean a lot.

And I expect that you could get a much better price from Palm if you wanted to have them dropship you a quarter-million Foleos not packaged for individual retail sale, instead of buying them one at a time at retail.

Palm ...R.I.P. (1)

slyborg (524607) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327685)

When I saw the Foleo, I was in shock. I was certain that the "mystery" product was overhyped, but this was a jaw dropper. The company that arguably invented the first successful mobile computing device has been reduced to *this*? Palm is on the ropes, this being perhaps their last chance to become relevant again, and they not only blow it, they miss the target by 180 degrees.

I lost a lot of respect for Jeff Hawkins here. This doesn't seem to hold out much hope for his other gig either [http://numenta.com/] I also find it notable that Jeff and Donna Dubinsky have been steadily bailing out of Palm for the last year, as have all the rest of the senior management. It seems that they are out of ideas there, and are just sucking as much of the blood out of the corpse as they can.

I note they still have Eric Benhamou still on their board. Having destroyed 3Com, I guess he will not rest until every company he has ever been associated with is reduced to ash. Amazing.

How many last chances do they get? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328311)

Palm is on the ropes, this being perhaps their last chance to become relevant again, and they not only blow it, they miss the target by 180 degrees.

You're more generous than me.

Palm blew it years ago.

Who is the market? (1)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327697)

I don't get who they're marketing this to. Treo owners are mostly business people or techies, who most likely already have a laptop. At $500 it's not cheap enough to be a budget laptop replacement.

No!!!! (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327763)

It needs 3G and phone capabilities, like HTC's Advantage.

The sort of person who will use this device is the road warrior who needs comms and office on the move. Wifi can't be depended on.

Can you say "doomed"? (1)

Gavin Scott (15916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327765)

A $600 minimalist Linux notebook that's a peripheral for a $300-$600 phone.

Joy.

At 2.4 pounds it's as massive as an ordinary ultralight notebook that could run a full OS and applications. The sort of person would would go for this will already be likely to have a real notebook PC with them that can do all these same functions as well or better than this device.

It seems that almost all gadgets introduced as being a "new class" of device can be found a year later being sold by the pallete-load at bay area surplus and auction places. A year from now we can go in together on a lot of 100 of them for $1 each :)

G.

I like it! (1)

RRRobotHouse (949354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327775)

I have a 700p and use it for Google Maps, web browsing, and email. Having access to Google wherever you go is a godsend. I love the concept of having essentially a "Palm Extender" similar to "Windows Media Extender" but hopefully much better.

I would love to take this thing in my backpack when I'm out on the weekend and need to check email or browse the web at a cafe. The concept of a "quick laptop" sounds neat. It is a logistical pain to boot up some of these laptops on-the-go. I hear the MacBooks boot from cold in about 30 seconds but this seems like a cheap upgrade for people who already own a 700p.

Oddly enough at the top of this post there is an advertisement for a $200 trade up from a current Palm device to a BlackBerry.

Analyst expect device to fail (1)

mccrew (62494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327789)

From another article [thestreet.com] :

Jack Gold, founder of industry analysis firm J.Gold Associates, said "I don't know where it will fit in the market."

At $499 after a $100 rebate, the device is an expensive sidekick. For another $200, users can get themselves a laptop, says Gold.

"I am not sure why anyone would want to buy this device if they already have a laptop," he says. "I would not personally carry it because it does not provide me with enough benefit."

Why not to buy from Palm (1)

mbstone (457308) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327865)

I am still waiting (more than a year) for Palm to support Treo syncing with Windows XP Media Center Edition. It will be a cold day in hell before I buy any more Palm products, lest I be left in the lurch again.

Oh there's a LOT of Poo-Poo to go around ... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327879)

"Why not just get a laptop?" "What about blackberry?"

For people who actually use their laptops for being mobile, the vast majority of them are not programming, compiling, designing graphics or doing CAD. They're doing email, updating their presentations, writing up documents and spreadsheets and the like. (I haven't read where it can have external video for delivering presenations, but I imagine if it's not in the first release, it'll find its way into the next.)

This thing looks like it will do exactly what these mass market users already need. On top of that, they'll get extended battery life and a smaller size? That's awesome. And if you're the IT guy for the company that buys these? I'm guessing administration will be a snap since there won't be a lot of variation in hardware or software to deal with. Simple, easy. The mass market doesn't really WANT a laptop... it does too much more than what they need, it takes time booting and shutting down, catches malware and then becomes unstable and unreliable. The original palm devices weren't popular because they had a lot of features and capabilities. They were popular because they suited the needs of the users pretty well.

So I won't be able to play unreal tournament on it... I won't be watching movies either... (well, maybe I will... it uses SD cards and I am pretty handy with a transcoder...) Will I want one? I'm undecided actually. I actually like using my laptop because I do a lot of the extra things that the mass market doesn't do; what a majority of the slashdot demographic does. But I think I like it.

Re:Oh there's a LOT of Poo-Poo to go around ... (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328351)

I'm guessing administration will be a snap since there won't be a lot of variation in hardware or software to deal with. Simple, easy. The mass market doesn't really WANT a laptop... it does too much more than what they need, it takes time booting and shutting down, catches malware and then becomes unstable and unreliable. The original palm devices weren't popular because they had a lot of features and capabilities. They were popular because they suited the needs of the users pretty well.

So I won't be able to play unreal tournament on it... I won't be watching movies either... (well, maybe I will... it uses SD cards and I am pretty handy with a transcoder...) Will I want one? I'm undecided actually. I actually like using my laptop because I do a lot of the extra things that the mass market doesn't do; what a majority of the slashdot demographic does. But I think I like it.
Finally, someone else who gets it. The average slashdotter is a geek and geeks often have trouble looking at things from other points of view. It is so easy to only look at the features and the upfront ticket price without looking at the big picture of TOC which does include downtime and potential data loss from viruses and what not.

I see this as a great device for the business traveller.

Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327897)

Utterly pointless. I am probably in the target demography. Traveling much, technology addicted, geeky, disposable income, gadgetry enthusiast. But that thing? What for?

Fine, except for the size... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327937)

All devices like this are quite near but they have to fail it somewhere. Whether they don't fit in my pocket and run Linux/UNIX or they don't have a usable keyboard. Am I really the only one seeking for such device?

I'd actually like to have something that runs some kind of UNIX and fits in my pocket so I could carry it wherever I go. Laptops are too big and PDAs lack usable UI and keyboard.

Some UNIX in my pocket would be nice as I could use my favourite shell and apps that in addition are fully compatible with the same apps in my workstation. At the moment I use Nokia 9500 with putty, but it's far from having a UNIX shell in your pocket.

The nearest thing I've heard is that I could probably install NetBSD on my old Nokia 9110, but I don't have enough time and interest to investigate on that.

Re:Fine, except for the size... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328185)

Psion's long dead Psion 5 would be the right size for me. Of course it doesn't run any Unixoid, and it is not manufactured for almost a decade.

No, there is no one around who is capable of building a new device the size of the Psion 5, with modern hardware, modern battery technology, modern mass production technology, modern display. I'll tell you what, our society is going backwards.

Re:Fine, except for the size... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328319)

I Am The Great CornFoleo!!! I need TCP for my Smartfone!!!

Re:Fine, except for the size... (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328389)

Nokia N800, folding Bluetooth keyboard.

Maybe it is a new class of device (2, Interesting)

fozzmeister (160968) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328249)

But heck, A PC maker could make one tomorrow nearly, chuck a transmetta/via chip in a uber small laptop chassis, remove all the perhipherals, add maybe 2GB flash instead of a HDD and something like XFCE and your mostly there. All you'd have to do is figure out the mobile phone syncing stuff which ain't going to be too hard.

Personally I like it, though I'm a programmer and need a proper laptop, although I can see that this _may_ fit a niche/market.

Missed opportunity (1)

Zigurd (3528) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328333)

It's a pity this product is only half-baked.

In fact, it might have been better received as a inexpensive ultra-light laptop that takes advantage of the ability of Linux to run on ARM SoCs. Why do I want the Palm mail reader when I rely on Thunderbird plug-ins for calendar sync, gmail, hotmail, etc. They picked the wrong way to try to add value to Linux.

You can buy a Compaq 440 for $399. If I wanted a cheap portable device for communicating, that would do the job, and a few other things too. And, being a standard laptop, would give me a wide choice of Linux distros and add-on apps, straight out of the distros' repositories. The Foleo has to deliver benefits over and above the commodity PC solution. Is the light weight and fast boot-up really worth hassling with a non-standard machine, plus $100 more?

Just accessories? (1)

derekw (962727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328379)

It's "big screen" and "full size keyboard" combo accessory package for your Treo for $500.

That's all I can tell. It's just like buying LCD and keyboard for your laptop, now you buy Foleo for your Treo.

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