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Palm Withdraws Linux-Powered Foleo PC 165

Posted by kdawson
from the dead-before-arrival dept.
M Saunders writes "Not long after we enjoyed playing with the device at LinuxWorld 2007, Palm has announced that it is shelving the Foleo handheld PC, before it was due to ship, so that the company can focus on a 'next-generation platform.' Palm hasn't ruled out a 'Foleo II' at some point, but for those of us looking forward to dinky Linux-powered laptops it's a bit of a disappointment. Still, with the Asus Eee PC nearby — and at a very low price point — perhaps it was a sensible move by Palm."
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Palm Withdraws Linux-Powered Foleo PC

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  • by Dster76 (877693) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:20PM (#20472475)
    It's not a laptop, but it's a reason to carry an extra charger, in addition to your smartphone's. Don't these product designers every travel?
    • by click2005 (921437) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:49PM (#20473275)
      Hopefully this will be the start of a trend..

      http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200612/19/eng200 61219_334047.html [peopledaily.com.cn]

      They should use USB chargers for all portable devices (assuming USB has enough juice to charge it).
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Mikachu (972457)
        Are you saying we might be nearing an end to overpriced cell phone chargers?

        I wish the US government would follow suit. The chargers, at this point, often cost as much as buying a new phone (subsidized, of course).
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by DogBotherer (965190)
          In Vietnam, a standard Nokia charger costs around 50,000 vnd (about $3.25), just so you know how much you're being overcharged...
        • by Phil John (576633)

          My HTC produced WinMo device (T-Mob MDA Vario II, also known as the Hermes or TyTn) trickle charges off USB when plugged in. There's been a few times I've disabled it (like when I'm using it as a 3G modem plugged into may laptop which is itself running off battery) but normally when it's cradled it's charging.

          I can't actually remember the last time I used the charger that came with the thing.

        • by digitig (1056110)
          I thought the free market was supposed to achieve that? ;-) Here in the UK, a charger for my phone costs between £20 and £25 from the various mobile phone shops, but a "universal" charger, which fits all the phones in the family except for my son's Sharp, cost less that £7 in a supermarket. Seems to work fine.
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:19PM (#20473545)
      Release details of a proposed product. Watch for reactions. See poor reactions and shelve product.

      Way, way, cheaper than taking it all the way to market.

      Still, I think the recipe was almost right. I have an (unfortunately broken) Psion 7. Very handy machine in its day: instant on, reasonably fast. Light... Give it a freshen up with a faster CPU, Wifi,... and you'd have a vry useful device.

      • > Release details of a proposed product. Watch for reactions. See poor reactions and shelve product.

        Look like incredible fools in front of the whole frickin' world.

        Show your very poor hand to everyone so there's no need to bluff anymore.

        Associate your brand with outrageous failure.

        My iPhone is so good all by itself that I don't even go into the next room to do an email or look up a Web page. Palm should have spent time creating the iPhone first instead of apologizing for the Treo with the Folio. I can re
      • by reed (19777)
        Get a Palm TX.

        Only problem is that it looks like PalmOS/Garnet is basically EOL. And it's also not a sure thing that Palm will be coming out with any new PDA-sized computers (like the TX) with an updated OS, but will either just keep making expensive smartphones, or weird crap like the Foleo.
    • It was my understanding that this device was to use the same Palm-branded charger that the Treos and the Treo-branded bluetooth headsets share.
  • The answer.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:25PM (#20472539) Homepage Journal
    ...to why it was cancelled is right here:

    http://www.engadget.com/2007/08/21/dear-palm-its-t ime-for-an-intervention/ [engadget.com]

    Palm actually listened as they mentioned in their reply:

    http://blog.palm.com/palm/2007/08/thanks-engadget. html [palm.com]

    • by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:53PM (#20472819) Homepage Journal
      That's a mostly insightful rant, but it's only got a couple of sentences about the Foleo. And that's a weak point — they're basically saying nobody will buy the Foleo if the Treo sucks. Which is kind of dumb, since the Foleo isn't that tightly bound to the Treo.

      The big question with the Treo is whether there are enough people who need more than a PDA but less than a full laptop. Or maybe I should say, "who will buy less than a full laptop." Because there are a lot of technically clueless folks out there who'd be better off with a device that simpler than a "real" computer but does everything they need to do — most users just don't need all the functionality a PC provides. But every time somebody comes out with such a device, it fails miserably.

      Why? Because such devices only cost a little less than an equivalent PC. And people would rather pay a little extra and get all that extra functionality. Even if it's functionality the won't use.

      What I want to know is why Palm won't do a phone that isn't a minor variation on the Treo. There are still folks out there who don't need a QWERTY keyboard and do need a phone that will actually fit in a pants pocket. It's sad and ironic that Palm doesn't recognize this, when their foundation product was the first practical pocket computer.
      • by Sandor at the Zoo (98013) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:20PM (#20473007)

        Palm can't (or doesn't feel that it can) compete with Nokia et al in churning out low-end phones. Palm can only stay in business by making higher-end smartphones.

        Their biggest problem is that their product cycle is way too long. The hardware and software revs between models seem small enough, but they're taking more than a year to push them out. That can't go on much longer.

        • by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:37PM (#20473161) Homepage Journal
          I said "small" not "low end". I'd kill for a clamshell or slider phone that runs Palm applications.

          As for their product cycle, it hardly matters how long it is when nothing really new comes at the end of it.
          • by lordkuri (514498)
            I'd kill for a clamshell or slider phone that runs Palm applications.

            http://www.phonescoop.com/phones/phone.php?p=173 [phonescoop.com]

            My ex-wife's address is.... ;-)
            • by fm6 (162816)
              I'd hate to bother your ex. I could probably pick on up on eBay. I'd hate to switch back to Sprint though.

              There are some nice Palm-based clamshells for the Asian market. Problem is, they're all tri-band, since nobody there uses the 850 band. Now, I could probably live without the 850 band, but I don't know. Anybody know a way to detect what bands a GSM cell uses in a given area?
          • Telus in Canada still offers this Palm clamshell:

            http://www.telusmobility.com/bc/pcs/kyocera_7135.s html [telusmobility.com]

            A friend of mine bought one, used it for a couple of years, then bought the Treo 650. The Kyocera is a little bulky, even for a Palm-based device.
        • Their biggest problem is that their product cycle is way too long.

          That wouldn't be a problem at all if the products very very desireable at the start of the cycle, much less the end - Palm's problem is not one of needing more incremental Treos, but a fresh design! Which in fact was why I never bought a Treo even though I almost pulled the trigger many years running.

          Forget the iPhone, they need a refresh of thinking just to keep ahead of other smartphone makers! I can't even remember when the last time was
      • Why? Because such devices only cost a little less than an equivalent PC. And people would rather pay a little extra and get all that extra functionality. Even if it's functionality the won't use.

        you're right on target with the price problem of the foleo. this comment though strikes me as a bit shortsighted. the things that even average to below average users do with their computers today is years ahead of what was being done a few years ago. 7 years ago nobody would have imagined that basic computer users

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by fm6 (162816)
          Still haven't learned to use the shift key, I see. I realize that it slows you down. But that would give you extra time to think about what point you're trying to make, and maybe expressing it a little more concisely.
        • People want PCs for a range of reasons. If they don't want to play the latest games, they don't buy a fancy video card; and if they aren't particularly interested in A/V, they don't spend the money on the best experience.

          Personal computing is moving away from the good old days of the 8086, and sitting at a desk to do "Lean-in" applications only. Now, in addition to the old-skool word processing, spreadsheets, heavy data lifting tasks, we're using computers at the core of our entertainment systems and for o
          • by harrkev (623093)

            The Eee, on the other hand, has the potential to be a winner. If they can deliver them really cheap (which has yet to be seen), then it's the ultimate satellite PC for a home network.

            The Eee is looking to be something of a train wreck in the happening. Of course, it is not released yet, so nothing is certain untill the first customers get one in their hands, but things are not looking as bright as they once were according to the rumors flying around.

            Asus initially stated that a unit with 512 MB RAM and 2GB

            • Now, $230 is supposed to get you 256MB / 2GB

              And wasn't there supposed to be a version with a 10" screen? I've seen the prices hike up, but I haven't seen a 10" screen mentioned since the first articles came out. I was all set to buy one (hell, for the $299 [IIRC] they were quoting for it, I'd have bought two!), and I'd probably spend up to US$350 on it, but they seem to have quietly dropped that model. Another victim of the "Specifications subject to change without notice" clause, I guess.

            • by DingerX (847589)
              Heck, just today, they went ahead and osborned [digitimes.com] the first-generation Eee PC. The Eee is definitely a "hold" until next summer at the earliest.
          • by i.r.id10t (595143)
            And somebody please explain why I shouldn't buy the n800...

            Only reason I can think of is I'll get jealous.... but I love my 770 :)
      • by arth1 (260657) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:44PM (#20473235) Homepage Journal

        That's a mostly insightful rant, but it's only got a couple of sentences about the Foleo. And that's a weak point -- they're basically saying nobody will buy the Foleo if the Treo sucks. Which is kind of dumb, since the Foleo isn't that tightly bound to the Treo.

        Out of the box, yes it was. To quote the spiel:
        "Foleo mobile companions work with Palm's Treo(TM) smartphones (Palm OS(R) and Windows Mobile(R) versions). However, Palm believes that most smartphones based on Windows Mobile should work with little or no modification. Smartphones based on operating systems from Research in Motion, Apple, and Symbian likely can be supported with a modest software effort."

        That "little modification" and "modest software effort" would be beyond the average businessman. And, of course, their phones would have to support BlueTooth and not have BlueTooth crippled by their provider before even trying to get it to work... So in reality, we're back to a potential buyer group of Treo users, plus a handful of diehards and rich people who can afford to say "aw, shucks, doesn't work, in the basement you go".

        What's flabbergasting is that it took so long before Palm killed off Fooleo. Almost all user groups predicted it would either be killed, or drag Palm down with it, and I have seen absolutely no support for Hawking's view that this was the best invention ever to come out of Palm. It was so blindingly obvious to everyone that this was a solution looking for a problem, and a bad one at that. When you can get full laptops for around $350, why would you want to spend $600 (less $100 initial mail in rebate, for those who qualified) for an ultra-slow laptop-looking device that can only do a small fraction of the things a laptop can do? And if small is your thing, the Foleo wasn't particularly small either -- bigger footprint than the new (and much cheaper) Asus models, but with a smaller screen and incredibly enough even less memory and slower CPU.

        No, this was doomed from the start, and in this case, people are in their full right to tell Palm "we told you so". Because we did -- and not just a few of us either.

        And, as Engadget said, "Small is sexy". Remember that, Palm. And remember how well the Palm V/Vx sold. It was small and sexy, and we luurved it! The replacements were clunkier and/or less sexy, and we didn't go for those. Simplicity and beauty in a small form factor is what you sold, and then forgot all about. The buyers didn't -- YOU did. There may still be time to do something, but the sand is running out as fast as the pennies on your budget, and you don't have much time left.

        Regards,
        --
        *Art
        • by fm6 (162816)

          I have seen absolutely no support for Hawking's view that this was the best invention ever to come out of Palm.

          I used to think highly of Hawkins, after hearing the story about him modeling the first Palm Pilot out of a block of wood. But then he started Handspring, and came out with some of the worst PDA designs ever. And why has he never intervened in the horrible button design for the Palm m Series? (If a button is designed to turn on the PDA, you don't want it sticking out so it gets pressed in your po

      • Functionality you don't use is still equity in the device. In two years time a laptop will hold more of its initial value than a phone or phone accessory. Or, put it simply, two years later, there's always plenty of people looking for a decent deal on a used laptop, how many people are looking for an internet enabled phone acessory?
        • by fm6 (162816)

          Functionality you don't use is still equity in the device.
          Electronic devices don't have "equity". Unlike real-estate, a cell phone does not increase in value. Rather the opposite. Any IT person will tell you that if you don't need functionality for 2 years, you wait two years to buy it, when it will cost less than half as much.
      • by gig (78408) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:22AM (#20475475)
        > The big question with the Treo is whether there are enough people who need more than a PDA but less than a full laptop

        No, the smartphone IS the new notebook. The notebook is the new desktop. The desktop is the new workstation. The Treo is just way behind the curve because it still doesn't have a Unix OS and Web 2.0 browser or a UI that works on a tiny screen. It was supposed to start being a real computer about 2-3 years ago.

        Why buy a Core 2 Duo in a big white box when you can have it in a MacBook for $1100? Very few reasons.

        Once you have an iPhone (or similar future competitor with Unix and Web 2.0 and zooming UI) you look at a PC, even a notebook, as a workstation. You use it to run Photoshop, you use it to make stuff, but you don't take it everywhere with you, you don't open it up to do email when you're on the road, you don't open it up to look up something in Google or get a map or refer to some notes. You only get the notebook out to do a real computing session, like an hour or more of real work.

        • by fm6 (162816)
          You're probably right about the notebook. (Or in my case the tablet. Except that just as I got used to having one desktop for everything, it decided it didn't want to talk to my external monitor any more. Anybody know anything about a bug in the Intel graphics chipset where external monitor functionality gradually disappears?) But the smart phone the new notebook? Not unless you never do anything with your notebook more complicated than email.

          Rather than trying to shove old paradigms into new technology, in
      • Many people want a functional linux-based computer that is smaller/lighter than a laptop. The Nokia N800 internet tablet is a good example. Small, light, and runs linux -- there is even a TeX/LaTeX distribution for it. If I'm traveling the world with a backpack, I'd rather have the N800 and a bluetooth keyboard than a laptop.

        Something doesn't have to be a huge market-redefining, ipod-magnitude product to find a following. Not everything has to change the world and get 90% market saturation just to

        • by NDPTAL85 (260093)
          "Something doesn't have to be a huge market-redefining, ipod-magnitude product to find a following. Not everything has to change the world and get 90% market saturation just to be called a success."

          You are right. But it doesn't hurt to have that kind of success either.

          Also seeing as how the iPhone runs OS X you could run most if not all of your mobile Linux apps on it as well. That leaves the reason to go with the Nokia being GPL/political reasons and possibly any hardware advantages the Nokia may have over
        • by fm6 (162816)
          First off, Linux doesn't enter the equation. No non-geek cares what OS is embedded in their devices. Even geeks shouldn't really care unless the device in question is reasonably hackable. Which they're usually not.

          And TeX? That's a niche within a niche! Unless you're composing scientific documents (if you're just reading them, convert them to PDF), you shouldn't bother with it. And even if you are composing such documents, you need to think about switching to a modern markup language.

          I too would rather have
          • Sony has a little tablet computer, whose name I'm not going to bother looking up. Sharp has the Zaurus. The Nokia N800 I've already mentioned. The smartphone market is growing somewhat. Linux is relevant because of the pre-existing unix apps, to include all those old things like grep, sed, etc. If you don't like the Unix thing then you aren't going to see why a small handheld unix-ish computer is very very cool. I don't begrudge you your difference of opinion, so don't begrudge me mine.

            And please d

            • by fm6 (162816)

              ...please don't tell me what I should want...
              We're not talking about what you want. We're talking about what the marketplace wants. It's interesting how few geeks seem to understand the distinction.
    • by acacia (101223)
      Full disclosure: I now own a Treo 680 that I love. I've had a Tungsten T3, m505, m500, and V. So I'm not really too objective a voice.
      That said, I've also owned a iPAQ 6920, RIM 7100t, and RIM 7130e.
      Based upon that history, I think I know a couple of things about handhelds.

      I'm a consultant with no real base of operations outside of my house, so mobility is critical to my job. Little things like a phone that actually works as a phone is pretty big in my book, since people generally like to call you on yo
      • At least for the people I work with, the answer is that the Palp is too simple, and somewhat as importantly, too expensive for the innards. The iPhone suffers the latter problem, although I have never used one, so I have no idea about it's relative simplicity.

        At least everywhere I've worked, Palm devices are dropped in favor of Windows Mobile because the latter are apparently easier to write applications for (I've never written one so don't know), especially complicated applications with hardware hooks. Sim
      • by NDPTAL85 (260093)
        Treos are way too thick. Compare their thickness to a Motoral Q or Samsung Blackjack. People don't like thick phones. The iPhone does MORE and is thinner. (And before you think of replying with a snarky "But the iPhone isn't a smartphone cause you can't install 3rd party apps, take a look at this: http://lifehacker.com/software/hack-attack/instal l -third+party-applications-on-your-iphone-295985.ph p [lifehacker.com] )

        Palm is simply lagging in both hardware AND software. Where's that new OS btw?
    • I wrote apps for Palm OS for a little over 3 years, and that Engadget article was right on the money. That Palm responded at all was a positive thing, but that may be the only positive thing they do about it. Their response has a hint of phoniness to it, as if they had never thought of any of the ideas listed but answered with "uh yeah, of course we're working on that". If their behavior over the last few years is any indication, they'll probably end up releasing a new device that addresses exactly none o

    • I think Palm's biggest oversight right now is not having native drivers for 64-bit variants of Windows. There are absolutely no hotsync USB drivers for Windows XP x64 or for Vista x64 (despite them using the "Designed for Vista" tags on their products).
  • by Simon Carr (1788) <slashdot.org@simoncarr.com> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:25PM (#20472545) Homepage
    There's a new, weird surge of mini devices coming. Palm's entry was kinda neat but really failed to live up to some of the promises of the other devices coming out.


    It's sensible; they're waiting to see how hard the Eee fails in this arena before they try to launch. They'll either compete directly with the Eee and the others or they'll learn from the failures of the Eee and we'll see an even neater (can I say that, neatER?) device from Palm.


    I still love my Sony Clie, and I wish Palm the best, I'd really like to see a new Palm device that had a fair chance at rekindling the good old days of the Palm Pilot.


    PS. I'm not damning the Eee pre-maturely, I'd love to see it flourish as well but I'm not holding my breath. Every time Asus raises the price a hair every tech forum goon places bets on it's death. What makes me think they may be right is that these cheapskates are it's primary market. If they aren't willing to buy it at $300 or even $400, they probably never would have seriously purchased it at $260 or whatever the limbo stick was at.

  • The Linux platform the Foleo was built upon is different from the one they are currently developing for the next line of smartphone. Thus it is quite expensive and resource intensive for them to maintain two lines. The Foleo II will have the same OS powering both the Foleo and the smarthphone. In addition to this, the Foleo had a very limited amount of application that could run out of the box, making it not very practical/useful to use. Finally, in the current generation one it only support tethering with
    • by Erwos (553607)
      "In addition to this, the Foleo had a very limited amount of application that could run out of the box, making it not very practical/useful to use."

      That's for sure. The Foleo's specs compare pretty well... to the two-year-old smartphone next to me.
    • If there are any Foleo devices out there, I hope that Palm sells them off and open sources the software. There's too much work on a portable device that was so close to shipping to waste. Then again, maybe Foleo wasn't as close to shipping as we once thought? I don't know, but I DO know that devices such as Nokia's N800 are gaining a following and opening the source for the Foleo could also possibly benefit Foleo II once a redesign makes it smaller.
      • by feranick (858651)
        The problem is that other than the kernel, everything else in the current Foleo is specific for that platform. It won't share about nothing with the PalmLinux that will go on Palm smartphones. Keeping in mind that no devices have been sold, open sourcing the Foleo platform makes as much sense as open-sourcing a prototype. The PalmLinux will be very different, probably will make extensive use of Java. So even if open-sourced, many application designed for the foleo will need to be eavily rewritten for the ne
  • Not if but when? (Score:3, Informative)

    by David Hume (200499) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:27PM (#20472567) Homepage
    From the summary:

    Palm hasn't ruled out a 'Foleo II' at some point
    FTFA:

    Jeff Hawkins and I still believe that the market category defined by Foleo has enormous potential. When we do Foleo II it will be based on our new platform, and we think it will deliver on the promise of this new category.
    • Erm ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shellbeach (610559) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:41PM (#20472689)
      ... it's called "saving face".

      Unless I'm very much mistaken, there will never be a Foleo II. The press release is merely a cover for the fact that the product concept was DOA. Nobody was interested in the Foleo apart from a few geeks who wanted a cheap sub-notebook that ran linux. For business users there just wasn't a market for that thing and there most likely never will be.

      Even die-hard Palm fans hated it, renaming it the Flopeo or Fooleo. Palm seriously screwed up with this one, but at least they had the courage to axe it before making complete fooleos of themselves ...
      • Unless I'm very much mistaken, there will never be a Foleo II. ... Even die-hard Palm fans hated it, renaming it the Flopeo or Fooleo.

        You are. There were more than a few die-hard palm fans that looked at the Foleo, and though "hey, that's worth $600." Most of those that didn't did not as much ridicule the concept (a Palm OS pseudo-Laptop!) as mock its lack of media capability.

        If the Foleo could manage a plug-in USB 2.0 DVD drive, had a full PCMCIA slot, and out-of-the-box could be used to watch YouTube, it'd be on shelves right now. I'd expect the last one to be fixed, and then the Foleo launched in six months or so with the single "P

        • You are. There were more than a few die-hard palm fans that looked at the Foleo, and though "hey, that's worth $600." Most of those that didn't did not as much ridicule the concept (a Palm OS pseudo-Laptop!) as mock its lack of media capability.

          Well, that's certainly not true over at palminfocenter - most people there mocked the general design of something that was larger than a PDA and had less functionality (e.g. no touch screen, not as portable, lacking applications, etc, etc). A big criticism was that Palm had created the solution to a problem that didn't exist. Even those that did like the concept had to fall over backwards to justify some use for the thing.

          If the Foleo could manage a plug-in USB 2.0 DVD drive, had a full PCMCIA slot, and out-of-the-box could be used to watch YouTube, it'd be on shelves right now. I'd expect the last one to be fixed, and then the Foleo launched in six months or so with the single "Palm Linux" OS.

          In other words, if the Foleo was actually a sub-notebook, rather than an oversized

      • Even die-hard Palm fans hated it, renaming it the Flopeo or Fooleo. Palm seriously screwed up with this one, but at least they had the courage to axe it before making complete fooleos of themselves ...
        I was thinking "Folly-O"...
    • by Kingrames (858416)
      I think he was hoping you'd bet otherwise.
  • SURPRISED? (Score:4, Funny)

    by MikShapi (681808) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:31PM (#20472589) Journal
    That a 500$ non-x86 glorified PDA in a UMPC form factor and lacking wireless capabilities would not sell in 2007, when Asus intends to push an XP-capable PentiumM-based EeePC that will harness the Windows application base for 200$-300$?

    When two weeks after its announcement, VIA showed a reference C7-based UMPC (reworked nano-itx rig with a screen, really)?

    GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK. I'd be surprised if palm managed to sell more than four of these units. Whoever made the call to do this product is a clueless idiot, and the engineers working for him are clueless idiots for not having pointed just how pathetically backward such a product would be in light of existing competition. It wouldn't have sold a decade ago. NOW?

    1999 called. They want their Jornada back.
    • 1999 called. They want their Jornada back.

      Sweet. I've been looking to offload that piece of crap. Any chance they'd be interested in taking back a then first lady?
    • by GarfBond (565331)
      Lacking wireless capabilities? It had both Wifi and Bluetooth for piggybacking on your phone's WAN connection.
  • too little, too late (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Roadmaster (96317) <roadmr@tomechang o s u b a n a n a.com> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:46PM (#20472731) Homepage Journal
    Well, the Foleo compares UNfavorably to my 10-year-old Toshiba Portege; it's also only slightly smaller than my current notebook computer. So I'd rather carry a full computer around; specially if it's the same weight-wise.

    Palm decided to throw all their weight and resources behind the Treo line, and thus rendered themselves irrelevant in the PDA business, leaving a lot of users without any clear upgrade path (my T3 starts to show its age and it lacks all sorts of connectivity). Also they have slept in their laurels and have a last-century operating system that's hopelessly out of league with any other smartphone or PDA device out there. I have zero faith in them now, and while I'll be in the market for a smartphone in the next couple of years, it sure as hell will not be a Palm device; while I hope my T3 survives that long, should it fail, I'll just stop using a PDA altogether, Palm's current offerings really are *that* bad and Foleo was only an indication that they're not about to improve.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fnkmaster (89084)
      Resources behind the Treo line? The Treo 600 was a brilliant product in its day, but all they've done in the 7 years or so since is basically bugfix and do new plastic moldings. And come out with a line of me-too Windows Mobile devices.

      If that's all the resources they have they are screwed. The whole point of dumping the Folio is to focus on their new OS.

      The whole problem is that this company was nearly destroyed by splitting off the OS division into PalmSource. The hardware division is worthless withou
      • Palm needs a new OS. Palm OS is looking so long in the tooth it's ridiculous.

        So, what OS would you propose if it's not the one they just developed for Folio or Palm or the me too Windoze mobile?

        • by Fnkmaster (89084)
          I don't really care, but I'd prefer something Linux based. Or other Unixy OS. The core scarcely matters, the innovation isn't in making a kernel that runs on a moderately limited handheld device, it's in a user interface, applications and email/web browsing experience that is compelling, powerful and usable. You know, like Apple did with the iPhone, only not have it be a closed platform with shitty email support.
  • by jddj (1085169) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:53PM (#20472825) Journal
    ...it was an answer to a question that nobody asked. Unless the question was "WTF?"
  • by fishthegeek (943099) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:00PM (#20472879) Journal
    Hallelujah. I've all but given up hope that my Palm TX would not be the last of it's breed. I watched Hawkins debut the Foleo live and I felt a twisting in my stomach, sincerely fearing that Palm was committing suicide in a spectacularly dull fashion. There is not a market for the Foleo and there never was. This might be a sign that Palm execs have finally started to understand that 1997 is gone and will never return. I'm looking forward to the next rev of the Palm OS (read: brutal murder of Garnet). I'm looking forward to a device that has Skype built in and finally has an OS that doesn't crash, plays multimedia, has a decent browser and above all is a PDA not a phone. I hope that this is a sign and I wish Palm the best!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by seebs (15766)
      I don't think they'll ever do another non-phone.

      Which makes me sad, too. The T|X is okay, but it shouldn't be the best they can do.
  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:28PM (#20473061)
    Palm should return to what they knew how to do well once upon a time. Build insanely great personal organizers. It isn't the 1990's anymore and it doesn't HAVE to be a cellphone, we have bluetooth now. Bundling a PDA with a cellphone sounds like a great idea, but it isn't. They operate on two totally different replacement cycles, cellphones (in the US) are tied to the carrier, requiring you to buy from the subset of products your carrier decides to carry. Cell phones have the WRONG FORM FACTOR. Jeff, go back to your blocks of wood and realize the problem and maybe a solution.

    Once you make that jump, something like the Folio is at least possible to think about. A big PDA for the DayRunner set that links via Bluetooth or WiFi and offers a stable platform for the road warrier who doesn't need to worry about problems with Windows and can live with a mostly browser based existence except for the vital PDA data and vertical apps kept locally.

    And personally I wouldn't trade month long battery runtimes for 'multimedia clips.' A big Folio sized gadget should do it because it needs a Li-Ion battery and a daily charge anyway, but offer at least one handheld that ISN'T an iPod wannabee. These days you could sell a totally kick ass "Palm" for under a hundred dollars. There is a whole untapped market there just waiting.
    • I'll agree that I don't get the trend towards making a fcsking iPod (errm, music player) out of every bit of electronics, but I do appreciate the phone/PDA hybrid and appreciate the fact I don't need two devices.

      I also appreciate the massive overlap -- a PDA is orders of magnitudes more useful if it can communicate with the internet (email, sync, etc) and a phone is orders of magnitude more useful if it organizes phone numbers and contact information. Bluetooth linking doesn't cut it and its not worth the
      • by Kenshin (43036) <kenshin AT lunarworks DOT ca> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:06PM (#20473937) Homepage
        What we really need is a CF-card sized "phone module" we can move between various devices...

        Well, if North America had standardised on GSM, the answer would be simple: a SIM chip.

        But, that's another argument for another time.
        • The SIM only provides the network authentication, it doesn't provide the radio or other cell network functionality. The SIM chip is kind of like a boot prom for a NIC, it's not enough to network enable something, you need the whole NIC.

          The closest actual example are the PC/Express Cards that the wireless vendors sell that have basically all the radio function built in. Why can't I just slap one of those (or a reduced size one) into handset/PDA hardware and go?
      • by Fnkmaster (89084)
        All I want is a Treo that isn't 2 inches thick, has wifi support, and a web browsing experience that's not straight out of 2001 (i.e. opens PDFs easily, supports video and audio content transparently, and supports at least basic dynamic HTML stuff).

        They have had 6 or 7 years now and haven't made an ounce of progress with the PalmOS platform. I guess there is supposedly a native PDF viewer now which I could dredge up and set up on my Treo 650. I've never had any luck with video content, and generally find
    • It isn't the 1990's anymore and it doesn't HAVE to be a cellphone

      In the 90's it didn't have to be a cellphone.

      Now if you have an organizer, phones have just enough organizer abilities that it's hard to overcome something a user already has by nessesity (phone) to get them to buy something they are not sure if they need (more advanced organizer). So I'm afraid to sell anything broadly, a phone has to be part of the deal.

      However, I agreee with this statement:

      Build insanely great personal organizers.

      Yes it ha
    • by Zelos (1050172)
      I doubt that's really a good idea, sales of PDAs have been dropping like a stone for years now.
  • by Kaenneth (82978) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:29PM (#20473067) Homepage Journal
    1. Google (or someone else nice) wins spectrum auction, and provides an open wireless based server platform. Such that someone can write a service application and can host it themselves, or have it be hosted by Google so it executes in the datacenter nearest the client, using a simple server-side API.

    2. Palm provides a open wireless client platform, with a simple API, the ability to run Java and/or .NET/Mono programs that are wireless 'aware' (Battery life, intermittent connection, small screen size, GPS, etc.)

    3. that 1 and 2 work together...

    Getting web pages on a mobile device is nice, but I want to be able to not only create my own applications, but servers as well. You might be able to unlock an iPhone to work with another service, but do other services work with the iPhone?

    Custom traffic maps rendered from traffic sensor data; traffic sensors which themselves could use the wireless... which then notifies you based on your current location, that if you don't leave in 10 minutes, you'll be late for an appointment.

    Someone tells you about a cool new show, so you browse TV schedules, then set your DVR to record it remotely... then trickle it to your handheld in the background and watch it.

    You can do a lot of that with existing web-server based tools, but sometimes a custom application that's aware of the mobile hardware could be amazingly useful, particularly if it needs to respond to 'events', not just while the page is loaded.
  • Nokia N800 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gunark (227527) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:37PM (#20473153)
    Who cares. I'm loving my Linux-based Nokia N800.
    • by PCM2 (4486)

      Who cares. I'm loving my Linux-based Nokia N800.

      Well, I certainly hope you suffer a better fate than me and my Nokia 770. Nokia pretty much disavowed all support for my gadget as soon as the N800 was rolling off the assembly line. Not long after that, the WiFi stopped working, rendering the whole debate about whether the world is ready for an "Internet tablet" rather moot. It still makes a pretty decent eBook reader (albeit with the worst battery in history) but not much else. After this experience, it'

  • by Gavin Scott (15916) * on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:50PM (#20473291)
    As I wrote here when they announced it:

    It seems that almost all gadgets introduced as being a "new class" of device can be found a year later being sold by the pallet-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 :)
    The only question now is whether they show up at Weird Stuff Warehouse or BDI :-)

    Seriously, this might be the most embarrassing product announcement I've ever seen.

    G.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:19PM (#20473549)
    The Palm OS was EXCELLENT, for a PDA. The hardware SUCKS. I'm writing apps for my nice little Debian-based Linux portable, AKA my Nokia N800, to replace it.

    I have gone through quite a few Palm PDAs, including a Palm III, a Palm V, 2 Palm Vx units, a Palm m505, a Zire 22, and 4 Tungsten T|X units. I had 4 T|Xs because the screen digitizer kept failing, so Palm kept having to replace it under warranty. The glue holding the V/Vx cases kept failing, and the motherboard died on one Vx. I got tired of every single device having a different proprietary cradle and charger. I got tired of the previous generation being totally orphaned so that you could no longer find accessories or get repairs. I also got tired of buying hardcases which then disintegrated when the glue failed. Each generation had less battery lifetime, so that I started out with two weeks between charges on my Palm III and finished where I had better not forget to charge my T|X every single night. I love the operating system and user interface, but the hardware is a dismal failure.

    Finally my last T|X started rebooting every time I tried to use the wi-fi. That was the last straw. I managed to get one last backup out of it.

    The problem is that the Palm to-do list and calendar runs my life and rules my world. I bought an app called PocketMoney and made it a habit to immediately record groceries, gas, lunch, etc. in it, and it has literally kept me from making debit card overdrafts since 2002, when I used to make 3 or 4 a month. Washington Mutual's stock went down when I bought a Palm. I keep all my passwords in there. I write stuff down that I do only once a year and which takes 3 days to rediscover, so that when I go "how do I do..." I can look it up on my PDA. I use HanDbase to track the contents of my parts boxes, tool boxes, and book collection, and to remind me of local restaurants. I use Jpilot and I wrote my own daemon to do wi-fi hotsyncing on Linux so I can easily back it up every day with one button press. It plays a big part in keeping my daily life on track.

    So I had to find a replacement. I use Linux so a WinCE/Mobile Windows unit was right out, because it's impossible to sync the data and back it up on anything but a Windows machine. I drooled over the Nokia 770 "internet tablet" for ages, but it didn't seem "programmable" or developer-friendly, and I had no idea what an "internet tablet" was supposed to do for you. Finally the Nokia 800 came out and I discovered you could run Python on it so I bought one. It turns out that you can easily write nice user interfaces with pyGTK if you take a little care to respect the limits of the CPU.

    One other nice thing I discovered is that the built-in Opera browser is capable of handling my bank's website, the RoadRunner webmail page, and the Oracle Collabsuite email system at work. The Palm T|X web browser failed with all of these.

    For me, my N800 is my "very tiny Linux laptop that fits in my pocket" and goes with me on my motorcycle and other places where I wouldn't carry a regular laptop.
  • Dang. I was really hoping Palm could come back with something good.

    Should I again rant about the essential badness of Windows Mobile against Palm? Seems as pointless as trying to figure out whether or not Microsoft is still losing money in that tactical niche. I was forced to switch to Windows Mobile a while ago--but it sure seems like forever.
  • I know what I want (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OrangeTide (124937) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:28AM (#20474691) Homepage Journal
    a Psion 5mx/Revo (aka Diamond Mako) with SD memory, WiFi, Linux and the possibility of future versions being a SmartPhone. I love those Psion keyboards and that it folded to be flat enough to fit in my pocket with its rounded edges. Also I liked that it was fairly affordable (at least the Mako). I'm pretty much tired of seeing $500 pdas, I'm more into the sub-$200 range, and would really like to see something small and simple for under $100. Let's get back to the basics instead of constantly adding MHZ and RAM and reducing the battery life. I would much rather keep the same MHZ as we move forward and continuously increase the battery life.

    Software, like a gas, just expands to fill all available space anyways. Gives those programmers faster cpus and more RAM and it will still take half a second to respond to your actions and several seconds to load anything.

    obviously the market disagrees with me what makes a good portable computer. I also wonder why a Palm has a massively more powerful CPU than my TI-85 but the calculator on the Palm totally sucks. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks that everyone should have a solver in their pocket.
    • You might find the Nokia 9300 (and it's bigger cousin the 9500) fun... they're simbian based, i.e. descended directly from the Psion lineage complete with app buttons and (for a pda) a great keyboard. I was a Psion series 3A fan way back in 94 and missed the hell out of it when it disappeared from the market; the Nokia 9300 has really been like going home. :)
  • I bought the Treo 650 about 3 years ago, along with a case, made by Palm. The case had a little snap to keep the phone in, vertically, but the whole case rotated on its clip.

    So the phone could be right-side up, but unintentionally rotates itself upside-down, holding on for dear-life by a single button. The button came undone about 2 or 3 times within a month, dumping the phone on the floor each time. Finally, I'm out for a walk outside, and the phone must have rotated without me knowing, button comes und
  • but I'll say it again.

    There's no sense in bringing the Foleo to market when its up to 3 times the price of Asus's EEE and less than half a machine. As much as I like the idea of computing devices on less-typical architectures like ARM, MIPS or PowerPC, I can't foot that bill in the face of superior and cheaper x86 based technology. It just doesn't make sense.

    I'm sure they thought that they *really* had something before they revealed it. I'm also sure that they crapped themselves the minute the EEE and VIA's
  • A superlight and cheap laptop is a fantastic idea. Give a device a keyboard, a usable screen, word processor, spreadsheet, email, browser etc. and it's more than adequate for short breaks, camping, coffee shops, lectures etc. A commercialized version of the OLPC will sell by the shitload which is why Quanta / ASUS & VIA all have plans to make them.

    This is the Foleo's problem. It's too expensive to compete with the impending supercheap portables and it's encroaching into the price territory of more abl

  • by argent (18001) <peter@slashdot.2 ... m ['nga' in gap]> on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @06:07AM (#20476733) Homepage Journal
    Palm's problem is that they lost the plot years ago. The original Palm OS design allowed for all kinds of cool capabilities that require far greater resources in a more general purpose OS... consider that palm's search function gave you the same kind of capabilities as a modern "desktop search" program... on an 8 MHz 68000!

    Instead of building on their strengths they panicked and let Microsoft move the goalposts, then went "wait a second, PalmOS isn't a multitasking laptop replacement, we gotta replace it or we're h0sed!" and ran off in every direction at once to try and replace something that didn't need replacing.

    They should have continued to develop the Palm OS 4 platform and follow the Dragonball down to cheaper and cheaper hardware, ensuring a continual influx of new customers who bought a $100... $80... $50... $30... entry-level Palm instead of a $200 Pocket PC because, well, that's what the mass market can afford. They owned that market, and gave it up.

    If they'd done that they wouldn't be trying to come up with a way to get people to buy into their latest high margin gimmick.
  • Dear Palm Inc executives!

    Wanna know how to save your company? Just solve the quality problems and sell TX at $150 or less. You'll still have a ton of profit on them and these things _will_ be selling like hotcakes with proper edutisement. Including a decent pair of headphones wouldn't hurt.

    Sincerely yours...
  • Nobody at Linuxworld would answer my simple question:

    Can I use this as a stand-alone PDA?

    I explained that I was looking for a replacement for the NEC MobilePro, basically an instant-on portable device with a full-sized keyboard that could be used for transcription. The guy there said that he didn't know.

    Of course, the reality is that the Folio was EXACTLY what I wanted. The staff just had no fucking idea what they were talking about. It was being pushed pretty much solely as a Treo accessory, which I told t

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