30th May 2007
This product has been cancelled
The Palm Foleo looks like a subnotebook
- but it possibly the world's largest mobile phone accessory
Roughly analogous to the Nokia N800
in terms of concept, the Palm Foleo is a very compact
Linux-based computer with Bluetooth and WiFi connections.
Unlike the Nokia variants, the Palm Foleo integrates
tightly with either a PalmOS-based Palm smartphone,
or a Windows-based one.
The close integration makes the Palm
Foleo an extension of the smartphone. There's not need
to worry about synchronisation and tricky software add-ons
as the Foleo has been designed specifically to work
in conjunction with a compatible smartphone.
Foleo isn't just restricted to Palm handsets - Palm
say that most Windows Mobile devices should be able
to work with the Foleo with little or no adaptation.
It should also be possible to synchronise the Foleo
with Symbian devices, BlackBerry handhelds and even
the Apple iPhone should the correct software become
available (with a "modest software effort"
according to Palm). Palm states that it is working with
third-part developers to expand the appeal of the Foleo.
Using a Linux computer as a front-end
for a Windows (or PalmOS) smartphone is certainly odd,
but it seems promising. The Palm Foleo can Microsoft
Office documents, PDF files and access the smartphone's
email and calendar appointments. In effect, everything
you can do on your smartphone, you should be
able to do on the Palm Foleo.
We said that the Palm Foleo was the
biggest mobile accessory we can think of - it boasts
a 10" 1024x600 pixel display, a good sized QWERTY
keyboard, WiFi and Bluetooth and it weighs around 1100
grams (2.5 pounds). There's no internal hard drive -
storage uses CF and SD memory cards. Battery life
is quoted at 5 hours, and the Foleo features an "instant
on/off" function too. We don't know the exact size,
but the Foleo will fit comfortably in an airline seat
tray. The screen isn't touch sensitive, but it's controlled
by a fairly typical "nipple" mouse instead.
Palm Foleo also has a built-in Opera web browser
and the handset's WiFi functionality and flexible operating
system should mean that the Foleo is also quite capable
as an ultraportable computer in it's own right. However,
at around $500 after a $100 rebate, the Foleo isn't
cheap (we don't know how much this might be in Europe
if it ever crosses the pond - our guess is around £300/€500).
It's better integrated with the phone
than the Nokia N800, and it's more device independent
Ameo, plus it's an awful lot cheaper than the HTC
Shift. It's hard to say if there's a much of a market
for this type of device, but if there is then it could
be a real winner for Palm.
The Palm Foleo will be available in
the summer of 2007 in the United States. Availability
elsewhere is not known at this point.
Foleo at a glance
+ paired Bluetooth