Palm Foleo

Palm almost anticipated the netbook revolution with the Palm Foleo. I say almost for two reasons. First, because while the Palm Foleo was a small clamshell device with a keyboard, it wasn’t a standalone computer. Instead, it was designed to connect to a Palm mobile phone and act as an external display and full QWERTY keyboard for interacting with your data and surfing the web. And second, because the Foleo never made it to market. Palm introduced the concept and then killed it off in 2007 — just before Asus introduced the first Eee PC netbook.

But now there’s a rumor going around that Palm could revive the Foleo, this time as a standalone device running WebOS, the same operating system that the upcoming Palm Pre smartphone will use.

If there’s any merit to the rumor, the new device would look a lot like the original Foleo concept, but the software would be different. The device would still use an ARM processor, which means it wouldn’t be capable of running Windows, but I imagine hackers who didn’t like the WebOS operating system could figure out a way to make the hardware run Linux. But you might not want to. While WebOS won’t be able to handle Linux apps like OpenOffice.org or Firefox right off the bat, the operating system is designed to be light weight and easy on battery life. A standalone Palm Foleo could get somewhere around 8 hours of run time on a single charge.

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13 replies on “Palm could revive the Foleo as a netbook”

  1. One feature to consider a WebOS phone is having a corresponding Palm Desktop application that i can run on my netbook! Or Linux Evolution connectivity.

    Netbook wise I am served. At least till e-ink quality (Pixel Qi 3Qi) touchscreens with long battery life come out.

  2. If I remember correctly it was supposed to be quite expensive. Unless that changes it doesn’t stand much chance of decent market penetration.

  3. i was really keen when they announced the foleo. palmos and a very long battery life. i have good memories of the palmos and it was a good solid system. the only drawback was the hardware. 2 of the palms i owned had flaky hardware. the m125 withs its dodgy touchscreen (fixed by a software patch, a week after palm sent me an email saying there were no hardware issues with devices made in mexico) and a palm e which had a few problems from flaky sound, dodgy todo button and 1-2 others. i had 4-5 palm (iiix, iiic, m125, handspring visor neo, palm e) devices and all gave me good service, even the flaky ones. one of the big switchoffs for me was the grafitti2 on the palm e. eeeew!

    so if they released the foleo i’d seriously think about buying. might even look at pré if it ever makes it to this side of the pond.

  4. I think Palm would be absolutely crazy to revive the Foleo. It’s dead for a reason. It was going to be a massive loser.

    At this point, Palm is too close to dead to be taking risks like the Foleo.

  5. In a world of endless online distractions (including me posting on this site) wouldn’t there be demand for an OS that does nothing except productivity? (i.e., intentionally no Flash, basic browser, Office suite, and nothing else?) I would totally be down to build a custom version of Ubuntu for that purpose. So should Palm, and if WebOS is partially Linux-based, the two could go hand in hand quite easily.

  6. technically it could surf the web on its own, it had built in wifi.

    however, there was a fair bit of confusion about its mail client. specifically if it could only do mail via a palm phone, or if it could do it on its own.

    the explanation give for its canceling was that they didnt want to deal with a another platform (it was a linux system supplied by a third party), as they where already working on a in-house linux system to replace palmos.

    still, i do suspect they would have brought it to market, if not engadget had gone beyond just voicing a opinion, and sendt a open letter directly questioning the foleo, supposedly on behalf of its readers.

    problem is that i have the view of engadget that unless its a apple product, it gets a scornful look. and if its a palm product, its heavy on the ridicule…

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