The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Mans best friend – Five reasons the Palm Foleo will fail ….

This is not a technology blog, but everyone in the business relies on portability for connection, with laptops, Blackberries etc. So it was with some interest I read last week about the Foleo from Palm, and decided to study it this morning.

Is it just me, or are Palm still operating in 1995 mode? i would safely predict this new device will be a total failure.

It’s an ultracompact computer with a twist. Palm is positioning the sleek clamshell device, which will sell for $499 after a rebate, as an alternative to carrying a larger, conventional laptop. It offers a nearly full-size keyboard, a 10-inch display, and comes with a selection of applications including a word processor and spreadsheet. But Hawkins believes it will be most useful when people also carry smartphones, like Treos or BlackBerrys (RIM), and transfer e-mail to Foleo when they’re in sit-down mode. “It’s a companion to your phone and companion to you,” Hawkins says.

Source: Palm Foleo

The device is tagged as a ‘smartphone companion’. Why would anyone want a smartphone companion? At first I have to admit their positioning sounded like there is no WiFi, but on further investigation, it seems to have WiFi. I love my Blackberry, but if I have my laptop in front of me, that’s what I am using.

So I thought i would run a quick comparison between the new Foleo, and my trusty Thinkpad X60s. This is not a Lenovo ad by the way – i merely seek the ultimate in portability, and wiredness (that’s not weirdness btw). I did not bother with a Macbook Pro comparison, because I cannot imagine any of those users being remotely interested.

Five reasons the Palm Foleo will fail ….

Foleo Thinkpad X60s
2.5 lbs/ 1.1 kg 3.5 lbs/ 1.6 Kg
Battery period – 5 hrs Battery period – 5 hrs
Limited software Office and all software
Cost $500 Cost $2,800
Linux instant on/ solid state memory Windows or Linux/ 2 gig ram/ 100 gig hd

The instant on thing is good, although I have the same benefit with ‘sleep mode’. I close the lid and it lasts for hours or days, and pops back on when I open the lid.

The most compelling feature is the price. But even a starving student will have trouble rationalising the lack of capabilities, and I would assume lack of configurability (non standard Linux) against that cost. The second hand computer stores all stock old corporate thinkpads, and I know one person using an X31 which ran him US $425.

And the weight gain is nominal – about the same as a bottle of water,

If someone could come out with a device that came in less than a kilo, and ran on normal memory, with a full operating system, preferably Linux for the small footprint, for $500 – that might gain some traction.

Written by Colin Henderson

June 3, 2007 at 07:58

Posted in Wireless

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    June 3, 2007 at 16:41

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