Palm Foleo Scrapped… Through Their Blog

When Palm launched the ‘Foleo’, I was aghast over the idea. While smartphones are convergence devices, aimed at reducing the number of things a person needs to carry to be connected, the Foleo goes against the grain. To make it even worse, at 2.5 lbs and with its 10″ display, it easily pokes into compact notebook size. Meanwhile its grossly underpowered foundation meant it couldn’t use Youtube properly. Essentially, it was a $599-$100MIR failure to happen.

Yesterday, Palm’s CEO, Ed Colligan, scrapped the entire project before a single production sample shipped to customers. Citing costs of supporting two different platforms (Foleo does not run on Palm’s future Linux-based OS) as well as less than enthusiastic market reaction to the Foleo in its present form, Mr Colligan announced the cancellation of the project along with a $10 million charge. Not exactly pocket change to Palm, but I agree with the CEO, short term pain for less long term pain. The only thing I wonder about is why it took them so long to come to the conclusion that the Foleo would be difficult to sell. After all, they are nearing the shipment date.

Through the hubbub of activity, I also noticed the rather curious method of breaking such important news. It was delivered on Palm’s blog, written by the CEO. There’s no mention of the cancellation in Palm’s press centre at all. Does Mr. Colligan believe in the more intimate setting of a blog? Or perhaps he wanted to make the announcement more personal in nature, due to the outcry by people, like you and I, across the web?


2 Replies to “Palm Foleo Scrapped… Through Their Blog”

  1. Hilarious…who wants to carry around 2.5lbs and a 10″ screen in their pocket?!?! surprise they scrapped it.

    My question though is….where do we go from here. I have actually been thinking about this for a while. So what are the goals? Mobility, power, and one device that does everything we need (Movies, games, work etc.). Sounds like a laptop right? But no laptops, even the compact ones, have true mobility. You can’t whip it out and be discreet about it…in fact you can’t even really whip it out. So where do we go? We need a handheld but with a regular size keyboard (or a new way to communicate with the device) and a larger-than-palm viewing surface (or an alternative to screens).

    Where do you see it going Chucks?

  2. It’s a tough compromise. You’re correct in saying even compact laptops are hardly discrete. But then again, it’s probably just as bad to whip out the Treo and attach a foldout keyboard to it. In that sense, it’s even more difficult to use than a laptop on one’s lap. You’d need some form of desk for the handheld + keyboard combination.

    To be honest, once we get ubiquitous high speed wireless networks (I mean like 3G cellular or beyond) at a decent price, a mobile device is probably the best bet. Input is still a little difficult on those devices (writing recognition is probably the easiest way to go, while being discrete, so no voice recognition) but I’d argue that the displays are getting to be a size where they’re quite usable. I think Apple was onto something with the iPhone interface. The screen is large enough to use comfortably, although I’m not certain how I feel about the touchscreen key input.

    Perhaps we’ll see a more discrete version of the virtual screen I saw Bill Gates present at UWaterloo. It basically takes the the display of your cell phone or other mobile device and projects it out onto a surface you can interact with.

    Or even better yet, implant that wireless chip in my brain already. 😉

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