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Palm Foleo Draws More Questions Than Praise

New 'mobile companion' works with a smartphone with 3G access, but does anyone really want to carry a second mobile device? Our analysts debate Palm's new product.


Network Computing's technology editors love shiny new gadgets. The Palm Foleo created instant debate among their ranks on the system's usability, use cases--and future. Read the discussion now on the NWC Blog.
Richard Karpinski
Editor in Chief, Online

Palm's new Foleo "mobile companion" device seemed to land with a thud this week, as bloggers, device watchers and mainstream IT press (including NWC's technology editors) wondered what to make of a product that--to say the least--seemed a bit outside the mobile mainstream.

For those of you who missed it, the Foleo (note the similarity to Palm's "Treo" PDA) was touted by Palm as a laptop-like companion to a user's existing smartphone. It sports a large screen and full-size keyboard in a small, relatively lightweight profile (10-inch screen; 2.5 pounds). Although the device does support Wi-Fi, the idea is to pair the Foleo with a 3G-enabled smartphone for uses where such a device comes up short -- such as with heavy e-mail or document processing. Unlike a laptop, the Foleo is instant-on, is easier to lug around and has better battery life (five hours plus).

The Foleo's built-in applications include e-mail, full-screen Web browser, and editors or viewers for common business documents such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files. In addition to Wi-Fi support, it includes Bluetooth for synching to other devices. It runs on a Linux-based operating system.

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