Forgive me, but isn’t the Treo supposed to be Palm’s answer to mobile email? I only ask, because the company’s announcement today – that they’re bringing out a compact Linux powered “smartphone companion” called Foleo, which links by Bluetooth to your existing handset and uses its connectivity with a larger, 10-inch display and full keyboard – and Palm President Ed Colligan’s previous comments on the device (that “it starts today with a focus on wireless email, and we expect the Foleo to grow in features and expand its capabilities as the platform grows”) seem to overlap pretty strongly with the existing product line. Still, I’m a sucker for a new toy, so let’s look at just what Folio is bringing to the table.
Obviously there’s that screen and keyboard, far larger than that of the Treo range, which can be used for emailing, internet browsing and creating/editing documents; these are then syncronised through the day with the smartphone, or if you’re impatient you can manually trigger an exchange. Based on Palm’s new Linux OS, it includes DataViz for Office functionality and Opera for browsing, and can apparently turn on and off instantly with a five hour battery life. There are hardware foreward/back buttons, a scroll wheel and trackpoint cursor control (since the Folio doesn’t have a touchscreen).
Any portable device – especially a supplemental one to something you’re already carrying – has to earn its space, and Palm are obviously hoping that the Foleo’s super-slim, 2.5 pound design and a focus on quickly locating the information you’re looking for you’ll decide it’s worth taking. Estimated price is $499 after a $100 rebate, with availability beginning this Summer.
Is it just me, or does this sound like an HTC Advantage with the cellular capabilities sliced out? The WiFi is a nice addition, though, and the USB, video-out, headphone jack and SD/CF ports handy.