Foleo – Palm's secret weapon

For the past few years, Jeff Hawkins was mentioning that he is working on a “secret weapon”. And yesterday, Palm finally released the long awaited secret weapon, Foleo.

In case you didn’t already know, I’m a fan of Palm. I started using Palm III in year 2000. It was a second hand set that I bought from my sister’s friend. Ever since then, I feel in love with Palm. I bought a Palm T3 when I started working and I upgraded to TX as soon as it hit the market. I’m still using TX now, although abit under-utilized.

Anyway, back to Foleo. Its a whole new product direction by Palm. They feel that the future of mobile computing will be small devices in the pocket which stores all the datas and a large screen device to managed it.

I guess the best thing about Foleo is its instant on/off. When you are on the go, there is no time for you to wait for the laptop to bootup. You want to type an email fast and move off quickly once you are done.

The battery life is great. 5 hours! It runs on Linux. Light weight with a 10 inch screen. I hope there will be lots of applications for it.

Still not exactly sure about the full specs. This is what I manage to get from the web.

Primary Capabilities and Attributes of the Foleo Mobile Companion
— One-button access to full-screen email
— Instant on, instant off
— Rapid access to various applications
— 10-inch screen and full-size keyboard
— Web search and browsing via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi
— Editors for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, plus a PDF viewer
— Compact, stylish design that fits on an airline tray table
— Lightweight at 2.5 pounds
— Fast, simple and intuitive navigation
— 5-hour battery life
— Linux OS for easy application development

What is the processor speed? How much disk space does it has? Is it using Non-Volatile File System (NVFS) like other palm devices? There are so many questions unanswered.

It should be out in the market soon. Going to cost USD$499.

I’m not sure if this is going to pull Palm out of the danger zone. I like the idea behind it. In fact, I’ve been thinking of something similar to this. But I don’t think I’ll buy it. It has to go together with a Treo to make full use of its capabilities . I love my K800i’s camera so much that I won’t give it up for any phone with less than 3.2megapix camera. But I believe that this is the way mobile computing should go. Its sad that the folks at SPUG aren’t supportive towards it.

Will Foleo be the next PalmPilot or Treo? I hope it will.


  1. If they can come up with an API to make this compatible with my Symbian OS Nokia phone… it’ll be really cool.

    Then again, this thing is already like a PDA… what’s stopping us from using this standalone – without the smartphone?

    On its own, its got Bluetooth – but no WiFi… so kinda duh…

    Its prob using Bluetooth to download web pages via the Smartphone’s 3G / GPRS / WiFi connection… so page downloads gonna be quite slow…

  2. Mic: It has wifi also. Bluetooth connect to smartphone’s 3G/GPRS is only for places where there is no WIFI. That is what I’m doing now with my TX.

    Why not use it as a standalone? Because you won’t want to put a 10 inch device on your face when you answer a call. 😛

  3. Hi DK. Was directed to your blog by Strange that my best friend’s initials are ‘DK’ too.

    I too started out with Palm back in 1999-2000. Had me a Palm IIIe, the one with the transparent case. I loved it. Went for a 3rd party memory upgrade from 2mb to 8mb within a week.

    But sad to say that Palm has steadily been losing ground over the years. I still use a PalmOS device to this day (Treo650) that I can’t even think to part with now.

    Hence this new product is terribly disappointing. I have to agree with the people over at This is just too little, too late. The laptop + smartphone revolution is already upon us. Adding another device that tries to sit in-between the two but doesn’t eliminate the need for either, doesn’t really cut it.

    That being said, I am somewhat dreading what to do if I have to change my Treo 650. No way am I touching a Windows Mobile device and the Treo680 is actually a step back with less battery life.

    I think my best bet for the future would be the coming Intel based mobile devices running on Ubuntu Linux Mobile. Pity the earliest they will be is 2008, yet another year.

  4. falchion: I think it would be too early to judge if this product is successful or not. Just like nobody expect Zire to be very successful.

  5. Foleo = very laptop-ish. Who needs another laptop? Could bypass the ‘boot-up’ phase by hibernation or stand-by mode.

  6. Brennan: But even when you set to standby, it still take 10 to 15 seconds to startup. Hibernation takes longer.

    Foleo is instant.

  7. Hey DK, interesting blog you have here, glad you passed me your link yest. 🙂

    Although feeling a lil out of my depth when it comes to the technical discussions, I like the simple and clean template you have for your blog. Am tempted to get a Palm or Blackberry myself, but the thought of being too accessible 24/7 puts me off, ha!


  8. MnM: Nice to see you drop by. 🙂

    Well, look at technology this way. It allows you to be connected 24/7, but you have the choice to be connected or disconnected.

    I choose these devices not because I want to be connected 24/7, but because I want to be connected when I need to. 🙂

  9. I no think Palm can last long with its product line leh!
    I even more “sua ku”….holding an old old Tungsten E2 leh…(note the word “holding”…not “using” hor…)

  10. DK: true, definitely, having the technology allows us to be connected when we want to, but well, at least for me, I belong to the group who tries to check my mail the first thing in the morning and the last thing before I sleep, try to reply to most of my emails and smses as they come in, so I think tt I’ve become a slave to technology, esp since I have crazy amts of emails and smses, more so since I’m receiving my twitter updates via smses from friends who are overseas.

    But am seriously considering staying off the radar later this month when I take time off to backpack in Europe. No laptop, no mobile phone! Okies, maybe the mobile phone, haha. 🙂

  11. Tigerfish: yeah, palm is dying and they really need a killer product to bring them back on track. I’m not sure if Foleo can save them.

  12. No doubt Foleo is touted as their killer weapon. There are also many questions they have yet to answer.

    I don’t see how it will replace the need of a smartphone and laptop at the same time. But it is definitely a wait and see situation now than deciding if the product makes it or flop.

    *I can’t imagine bringing Foleo and running around with a laptop as well. A bit overkill. LOL

  13. Nicole: It is not suppose to replace a smartphone. It is suppose to work together with a smartphone.

    I think they are trying to get people to use a Foleo instead of a laptop.

  14. Even if its supposed to work with a smartphone, won’t Foleo be like more redundant, since a laptop can work just as what Foleo does… I mean, although a bit laggy… Given a choice, I may consider a smartphone and laptop, than Foleo.

    Perhaps Palm might wanna explain why Foleo and Smartphone makes a greater combination than Smartphone and laptop. 😛

    If they can integrate smartphone capabilities into Foleo, I might ditch my laptop sometimes for Foleo.

    Tricky eh?

  15. Just to add on, after reading and viewing the official site on Foleo, it has left me feeling more sceptical and loads of question unanswered, not a very gd sign on consumers like me.

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