More importantly, though, we've seen the success of Asus' elfin Eee PC, which has clearly shown that plenty of folk will put up with a less-than-leading-edge specification if the price is right. The reason? There are a fair few applications that will run quite reasonably on old-spec hardware. Many people are using the Eee as a simple internet access device and for basic productivity apps, relishing not only is low price but its incredible - for a laptop - portability.
Curiously, many of the commentators who blasted the Foleo have gone on to welcome the Eee with open arms.
The testament to the fact that Eee has caught a mood among both consumers and the more technically inclined is the keenness of other vendors to leap in with Small, Cheap Computers™ of their own. HP's launched one; so has MSI. Acer and Dell are believed to be preparing to announce their own versions even as we speak.
The sub-laptop the could have beaten the Eee
Time, then, for Palm to dust off the Foleo, give it a polish and punt it not necessarily as an adjunct to its smartphones but as a executive-oriented skinny laptop alternative?
Ironically, the original Foleo could so easily have been the machine the Eee went on to become. Palm's Jeff Hawkins and Asus' Jerry Shen saw even when almost no one else did that a good proportion of World+Dog wants internet access on the move, and many of them want it with a decent-sized screen and keyboard. PDAs? No thanks, but a small sub-notebook, yes please.
All Palm really got wrong was the price. And then it proved not to have sufficient bottle to see the unit to market. The examples of the MacBook Air and the Eee may have persuaded it that it was wrong.
We hope so. Where, after all, is the interest in another smartphone with Wi-Fi?
Palm 'innovative Wi-FI device' invite points to Foleo revamp?
...Matthew Weigel, above, even if he IS an iPhone user (kidding, OK?); better battery life, perhaps, but critically flawed by being tied to a phone, not being able to run standard versions of apps (or standard plugins in their own customised versions of apps)... All in all, this thing was more akin to an expansion keyboard for a phone with a larger screen bolted on. I could have pretty much the same thing going with a £25 bluetooth keyboard for my phone (I could live without the display). The Eee's an actual standalone usable laptop that can run anything any normal bog-stock PC can, do it in an incredibly small form factor and at incredibly low cost, whilst being highly resilient. Folio didn't even come close.
It is the Palm Treo 800w
It's the Palm Treo 800w, bet on it.
When the Foleo 1 was killed Palm said they might revisit it *AFTER* Palm OS 2 is out, and if and when they did Foleo 2 it would run Palm OS 2 (their Linux-based OS). Since the OS isn't done, let alone out, it isn't a new Foleo.
the psion mc200, mc400, mc500 and mc600 were laptops that ran a proprietry os. think of them as a big primitive psion 5. always wanted to buy one but never had the cash.
the cheap one mc200 was £600 up to the £1300 mc600 version.
the psions were so far ahead of their time that only now is nokias symbian starting to catch up.
if i could bring only one feature of psion it would be the opl programming language.
The Foleo Would Have Missed
It may seem like a small thing, but they had the targeting completely off for the Foleo. A companion to your Treo? I don't - and won't, thanks to the iPhone - own a Treo, and I don't want my laptop to be tethered in any way to my phone unless I'm out in the middle of nowhere and need to use the phone as a modem.
Sure, it would have been a nice Linux laptop, and in that regard could serve as well as the EeePC, but it wouldn't have served users like my wife (who now enjoys surfing from the couch on her EeePC) nearly as well. Custom web browser, email that you have to download from your Treo, non-x86 processor that can't run the Linux Flash plugin...
They got very close in specs, but they screwed it up a bit and they positioned it wrong. The EeePC is a minor iteration on their idea, but it's the iteration where things came together. Now the EeePC alone is practically a new class of laptop (even though machines like it have been with us for a long time, often imported from Japan), and the Foleo never could have had that kind of impact.
The Foleo was what I intended to get when I first received an email about it from Palm. Then I read (on the Reg no less) that the Foleo was scrapped before it even came out.
Then the eeePC came out. Since I still wanted a tiny laptop-like thing for extreme portability, I got myself an eee.
However, while I do love the eee, if it and the Foleo had existed at the same time, I would have chosen the latter, even if it cost an extra $100, as I've always been very impressed with palm stuff. I have a Treo600 that I got about 4 years ago and aside from one little incident involving a coin and the charging slot, it has never been turned off or reset; and it's never let me down.